The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 67r - the viper, 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.
cannot be discovered, we are to behave as if he were present? Let him be harsh, deceitful, uncouth, unreliable, drunken: are any of these things worse than the poison from which the lamprey, in intercourse, does not shrink? When she is invited, she is not found wanting and embraces the slimy snake with sincere affection. The man puts up with your mischief and your feminine tendency towards triviality. Can you, o woman, not stand by your man? Adam was deceived by Eve, not Eve by Adam. It is right that the woman should accept as her governor the man whom she urged to do wrong, lest she fall again through her feminine disposition. But he is rough and uncouth! He pleased you once. Are you saying that a husband should be chosen on a frequent basis? The ox seeks his partner, the horse cherishes his. If a partner is changed, however, the one that is left cannot bear the other's yoke and feels insecure. You reject your conjugal partner and often think of changing him. If one day he is absent, you bring in a rival and at once, having discovered no reason for doing so, you avenge the injury done to your honour as if you had discovered some reason. The female viper searches for her absent male, enticing him with a seductive hiss, and when she senses that he is approaching, she spits out her poison, modestly showing reverence to her husband and the obligations of marriage. You, o woman, repel your husband with reproaches when he returns from afar. The viper gazes out to sea, he searches for a sign that she is on her way. You put obstacles in your husband's way. You stir up the poison of strife, you do not get rid of it. You emit a foul venom in the midst of your wifely embrace, you show no shame at the thought of your marriage vows, you show no regard for your husband. But you too, O man, for we can also bring you into the discussion, set aside the passion in your heart and the roughness of your manner when your loving wife comes to meet you, Get rid of your ill-humour when your wife sweetly rouses you to express your love. You are not her master but her husband; you have gained not a maidservant but a wife. God wished you to govern the weaker sex, not rule it absolutely. Return her care with attention; return her love with grace. The viper pours out its poison; can you not get rid of your harsh attitude?

Text

Vipers' seductive sex life. The snake's body is slimy.

Comment

In fact, the European grass snake secretes fluid from its anal gland to cover its whole body.

Folio Attributes

  • Initial Type 2

    Initial Type 2

    Initial Type 2
    Type 2 initial. Detail from f.5v

    Type 2 is much more common. The letter is made with burnished gold, filled with a blue or brown background which is decorated with a delicate white tracery. Many of these are embellished with red or blue traces or sprays. The Aberdeen Bestiary is a very early example of the use of sprays which culminates in the art of William de Brailes in the mid-thirteenth century (Morgan 1982,no.68). An elaborate spray is on f.41v. The fine white filigree pattern is also found on some of the illuminations (f.3r, f.11r, f.12r) suggesting that the main illuminator also made these initials. This type generally occupies two lines. This initial is generally used to introduce each new animal.

Transcription

comperienda presentia? Sit licet asper, fallax, inconditus lubri\cus, temulentus, quid peius veneno quod in coniuge mu\rena non refugit, vocata non deest, et serpentis lubricum\ sedula caritate complectitur. Ille tua mala portat et le\vitatis feminee facilitatem, tu virum tuum non potes mu\lier sustinere. Adam per Evam deceptus est, non Eva per Adam.\ Quem vocavit ad culpam mulier, iustum est ut eum gu\bernatorem assumat, ne iterum feminea facilitate labatur.\ Sed horridus et incultus est. Semel placuit, nunquid vir\ frequenter est eligendus. Comparem suum et bos requirit\ et equus diligit. Et si mutetur alius tamen trahere iugum nes\cit compar alterius, et se non tutum putat. Tu iugalem re\pudias tuum, et putas sepe esse mutandum, et si uno defue\rit die superducis rivalem, et statim incognita causa quasi cog\nita iniuriam pudoris exequeris. Vipera absentem requirit,\ absentem vocat et blando proclamat sibilo, atque ubi adventare\ comparem senserit, venenum evomit, reverentiam marito\ deferens verecundata nuptialem gratiam. Tu mulier advenien\[en]tem de longinquo maritum contumeliis repellis. Vipera\ mare prospectat, explorat iter coniugis. Tu iniuriis viam\ viro obstruis. Tu licium moves venena, non reicis. Tu con\iugalis amplexus tempore dirum virus exestuas, nec eru\bescis nuptias nec revereris maritum. Sed etiam tu vir, pos\sumus enim etiam sic accipere, depone tumorem cordis, asperi\tatem morum cum tibi sedula uxor occurrit, propelle indig\nationem cum blanda coniux ad caritatem provocat. Non\ es dominus sed maritus, non ancillam sortitus es, sed uxorem.\ Gubernatorem te deus voluit esse sexus inferioris, non prepo\tentem. Redde vicem studio, redde amori gratiam. Vipera vene\num suum fundit, tu non potes duriciam mentis deponere?

Translation

cannot be discovered, we are to behave as if he were present? Let him be harsh, deceitful, uncouth, unreliable, drunken: are any of these things worse than the poison from which the lamprey, in intercourse, does not shrink? When she is invited, she is not found wanting and embraces the slimy snake with sincere affection. The man puts up with your mischief and your feminine tendency towards triviality. Can you, o woman, not stand by your man? Adam was deceived by Eve, not Eve by Adam. It is right that the woman should accept as her governor the man whom she urged to do wrong, lest she fall again through her feminine disposition. But he is rough and uncouth! He pleased you once. Are you saying that a husband should be chosen on a frequent basis? The ox seeks his partner, the horse cherishes his. If a partner is changed, however, the one that is left cannot bear the other's yoke and feels insecure. You reject your conjugal partner and often think of changing him. If one day he is absent, you bring in a rival and at once, having discovered no reason for doing so, you avenge the injury done to your honour as if you had discovered some reason. The female viper searches for her absent male, enticing him with a seductive hiss, and when she senses that he is approaching, she spits out her poison, modestly showing reverence to her husband and the obligations of marriage. You, o woman, repel your husband with reproaches when he returns from afar. The viper gazes out to sea, he searches for a sign that she is on her way. You put obstacles in your husband's way. You stir up the poison of strife, you do not get rid of it. You emit a foul venom in the midst of your wifely embrace, you show no shame at the thought of your marriage vows, you show no regard for your husband. But you too, O man, for we can also bring you into the discussion, set aside the passion in your heart and the roughness of your manner when your loving wife comes to meet you, Get rid of your ill-humour when your wife sweetly rouses you to express your love. You are not her master but her husband; you have gained not a maidservant but a wife. God wished you to govern the weaker sex, not rule it absolutely. Return her care with attention; return her love with grace. The viper pours out its poison; can you not get rid of your harsh attitude?
  • Commentary

    Text

    Vipers' seductive sex life. The snake's body is slimy.

    Comment

    In fact, the European grass snake secretes fluid from its anal gland to cover its whole body.

    Folio Attributes

    • Initial Type 2

      Initial Type 2

      Initial Type 2
      Type 2 initial. Detail from f.5v

      Type 2 is much more common. The letter is made with burnished gold, filled with a blue or brown background which is decorated with a delicate white tracery. Many of these are embellished with red or blue traces or sprays. The Aberdeen Bestiary is a very early example of the use of sprays which culminates in the art of William de Brailes in the mid-thirteenth century (Morgan 1982,no.68). An elaborate spray is on f.41v. The fine white filigree pattern is also found on some of the illuminations (f.3r, f.11r, f.12r) suggesting that the main illuminator also made these initials. This type generally occupies two lines. This initial is generally used to introduce each new animal.

  • Translation
    cannot be discovered, we are to behave as if he were present? Let him be harsh, deceitful, uncouth, unreliable, drunken: are any of these things worse than the poison from which the lamprey, in intercourse, does not shrink? When she is invited, she is not found wanting and embraces the slimy snake with sincere affection. The man puts up with your mischief and your feminine tendency towards triviality. Can you, o woman, not stand by your man? Adam was deceived by Eve, not Eve by Adam. It is right that the woman should accept as her governor the man whom she urged to do wrong, lest she fall again through her feminine disposition. But he is rough and uncouth! He pleased you once. Are you saying that a husband should be chosen on a frequent basis? The ox seeks his partner, the horse cherishes his. If a partner is changed, however, the one that is left cannot bear the other's yoke and feels insecure. You reject your conjugal partner and often think of changing him. If one day he is absent, you bring in a rival and at once, having discovered no reason for doing so, you avenge the injury done to your honour as if you had discovered some reason. The female viper searches for her absent male, enticing him with a seductive hiss, and when she senses that he is approaching, she spits out her poison, modestly showing reverence to her husband and the obligations of marriage. You, o woman, repel your husband with reproaches when he returns from afar. The viper gazes out to sea, he searches for a sign that she is on her way. You put obstacles in your husband's way. You stir up the poison of strife, you do not get rid of it. You emit a foul venom in the midst of your wifely embrace, you show no shame at the thought of your marriage vows, you show no regard for your husband. But you too, O man, for we can also bring you into the discussion, set aside the passion in your heart and the roughness of your manner when your loving wife comes to meet you, Get rid of your ill-humour when your wife sweetly rouses you to express your love. You are not her master but her husband; you have gained not a maidservant but a wife. God wished you to govern the weaker sex, not rule it absolutely. Return her care with attention; return her love with grace. The viper pours out its poison; can you not get rid of your harsh attitude?
  • Transcription
    comperienda presentia? Sit licet asper, fallax, inconditus lubri\cus, temulentus, quid peius veneno quod in coniuge mu\rena non refugit, vocata non deest, et serpentis lubricum\ sedula caritate complectitur. Ille tua mala portat et le\vitatis feminee facilitatem, tu virum tuum non potes mu\lier sustinere. Adam per Evam deceptus est, non Eva per Adam.\ Quem vocavit ad culpam mulier, iustum est ut eum gu\bernatorem assumat, ne iterum feminea facilitate labatur.\ Sed horridus et incultus est. Semel placuit, nunquid vir\ frequenter est eligendus. Comparem suum et bos requirit\ et equus diligit. Et si mutetur alius tamen trahere iugum nes\cit compar alterius, et se non tutum putat. Tu iugalem re\pudias tuum, et putas sepe esse mutandum, et si uno defue\rit die superducis rivalem, et statim incognita causa quasi cog\nita iniuriam pudoris exequeris. Vipera absentem requirit,\ absentem vocat et blando proclamat sibilo, atque ubi adventare\ comparem senserit, venenum evomit, reverentiam marito\ deferens verecundata nuptialem gratiam. Tu mulier advenien\[en]tem de longinquo maritum contumeliis repellis. Vipera\ mare prospectat, explorat iter coniugis. Tu iniuriis viam\ viro obstruis. Tu licium moves venena, non reicis. Tu con\iugalis amplexus tempore dirum virus exestuas, nec eru\bescis nuptias nec revereris maritum. Sed etiam tu vir, pos\sumus enim etiam sic accipere, depone tumorem cordis, asperi\tatem morum cum tibi sedula uxor occurrit, propelle indig\nationem cum blanda coniux ad caritatem provocat. Non\ es dominus sed maritus, non ancillam sortitus es, sed uxorem.\ Gubernatorem te deus voluit esse sexus inferioris, non prepo\tentem. Redde vicem studio, redde amori gratiam. Vipera vene\num suum fundit, tu non potes duriciam mentis deponere?
Folio 67r - the viper, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen