The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 96v - the mermecoleon, continued. Versus; verse


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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.
are the heavenly dew, just as before her, the patriarch Isaac, blessing his son, signifying that Christ would be born from his seed, said to him: 'God give thee of the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth' (Genesis, 27: 28), signifying the chaste, untouched virgin Mary. 'Early in the morning' refers to the time of prayer. The mussel opening its mouth signifies the occasion when Mary says to the angel: 'Behold the handmaiden of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word' (Luke, 1:35). 'The foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones' (Revelation, 21:19), that is, the prophets and Apostles on whose faith and doctrine the whole city of the church is founded. Of these it is said in the Psalms: it is founded on holy hills (see, eg, Psalms, 15:1); the wall was adorned with every precious stone (see Revelation, 21:18-19). They were furnished, that is, with every kind of virtue and good work. It is not only the prophets and apostles who are called 'foundations', but lesser men also, who had or have a life and faith like theirs. They are called 'foundations' not by virtue of their personalities, but the way in which they exercised their virtue; because it was through their virtue that they founded the church. On account of this, John shows here in which virtues they were as a light in the church, reckoning their number as twelve, demonstrating that they shone in every virtue. For this number signifies the universe, because it is made from parts containing seven, that is by threes and by fours; and that faith is first among the virtues according to the statement of Prudentius. Verse Faith, the first of the virtues, ready to fight, takes to the field in battle with doubt. And because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews, 11:6), faith is set in the first foundation. It should not trouble you that stones

Text

Precious stones form the foundation of the walls of the city of the church.

Comment

Initial type 4.

Folio Attributes

  • Initial Type 4

    Initial Type 4

    Initial Type 4
    Type 4 initial. Detail from f.96v

    Type 4 initials are red or blue. On any given page they alternate red and blue regularly. Blue initials are embellished with red tassels and vice versa. The colouring and form of the letters is not very even and appears rather hurried in places. In the Bestiary proper, they appear on f.79v and f.80r. Thereafter this is the basic initial used in the thirteenth-century Lapidary addition, found from f.94r onwards. This suggests that gaps left in the twelfth-century text on ff. 79v and 80r were filled in when the book was completed in the later thirteenth century. The poor quality of the later work is apparent from f.94r onwards, and is apparent on f.79v where the wrong capital ‘U’ was inserted and later corrected to ‘F’ for Fagus, the beech tree.

Transcription

nes sunt ros celestis, sicut ante iam [eam] patriarcha Ysaac be\nedicens filium su[u]m significans quia [quod] Christus ex semi\ne eius nasceretur, ait ad eum dicens: Det tibi deus de\ rore celi et de ubertate terre castam atque intactam vir\ginem Mariam significans. Matutinis autem horis\ quod dicitur tempus orationis describit. Quod autem aperit os su\um conchus significat ubi dicit Maria ad ange\lum: Ecce ancilla domini fiat michi secundum verbum\ tuum.\ Fundamenta muri civitatis omni\ lapide precioso ornata, id est prophete et apostoli super\ quorum fidem et doctrinam tota civitas ecclesie fun\data est, de quibus dicitur in [psalmis] fundata est in montibus\ sanctis, omni lapide precioso ornatus. Erant suple[ta], id est omni ge\nere virtutum et bonorum operum nec non solum pro\phete et apostoli fundamenta dicuntur, sed etiam alii minores\ qui fidem et vitam ipsorum habuerunt, vel habent qui non\ racione personarum sed operacione virtutum, fundamen\ta dicuntur, quia per [eas] ecclesiam fundaverunt, [propter] quod Johannis, hic osten\dit quibus virtutibus ipsi in ecclesia [lux erant], reponens\ eos sub duo denario [duodecimo] numero, ut sic ostendat eos splen\duisse omnibus virtutibus. Hic enim numerus universita\tem significat, quia ex partibus septenarii conficitur,\ id est ternario et quaternario, et quia [quod] fides inter virtutes pri\ma est, iuxta illud Prudentii.\ Versus \ Prima petit cam\pum dubia sub sorte duelli, pugnatura fides. Et\ quia sine fide [non] placet deo, ut dicitur Hebreos xi, primo, in primo fun\damento, ponitur fides, nec moveat te quod lapides

Translation

are the heavenly dew, just as before her, the patriarch Isaac, blessing his son, signifying that Christ would be born from his seed, said to him: 'God give thee of the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth' (Genesis, 27: 28), signifying the chaste, untouched virgin Mary. 'Early in the morning' refers to the time of prayer. The mussel opening its mouth signifies the occasion when Mary says to the angel: 'Behold the handmaiden of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word' (Luke, 1:35). 'The foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones' (Revelation, 21:19), that is, the prophets and Apostles on whose faith and doctrine the whole city of the church is founded. Of these it is said in the Psalms: it is founded on holy hills (see, eg, Psalms, 15:1); the wall was adorned with every precious stone (see Revelation, 21:18-19). They were furnished, that is, with every kind of virtue and good work. It is not only the prophets and apostles who are called 'foundations', but lesser men also, who had or have a life and faith like theirs. They are called 'foundations' not by virtue of their personalities, but the way in which they exercised their virtue; because it was through their virtue that they founded the church. On account of this, John shows here in which virtues they were as a light in the church, reckoning their number as twelve, demonstrating that they shone in every virtue. For this number signifies the universe, because it is made from parts containing seven, that is by threes and by fours; and that faith is first among the virtues according to the statement of Prudentius. Verse Faith, the first of the virtues, ready to fight, takes to the field in battle with doubt. And because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews, 11:6), faith is set in the first foundation. It should not trouble you that stones
  • Commentary

    Text

    Precious stones form the foundation of the walls of the city of the church.

    Comment

    Initial type 4.

    Folio Attributes

    • Initial Type 4

      Initial Type 4

      Initial Type 4
      Type 4 initial. Detail from f.96v

      Type 4 initials are red or blue. On any given page they alternate red and blue regularly. Blue initials are embellished with red tassels and vice versa. The colouring and form of the letters is not very even and appears rather hurried in places. In the Bestiary proper, they appear on f.79v and f.80r. Thereafter this is the basic initial used in the thirteenth-century Lapidary addition, found from f.94r onwards. This suggests that gaps left in the twelfth-century text on ff. 79v and 80r were filled in when the book was completed in the later thirteenth century. The poor quality of the later work is apparent from f.94r onwards, and is apparent on f.79v where the wrong capital ‘U’ was inserted and later corrected to ‘F’ for Fagus, the beech tree.

  • Translation
    are the heavenly dew, just as before her, the patriarch Isaac, blessing his son, signifying that Christ would be born from his seed, said to him: 'God give thee of the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth' (Genesis, 27: 28), signifying the chaste, untouched virgin Mary. 'Early in the morning' refers to the time of prayer. The mussel opening its mouth signifies the occasion when Mary says to the angel: 'Behold the handmaiden of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word' (Luke, 1:35). 'The foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones' (Revelation, 21:19), that is, the prophets and Apostles on whose faith and doctrine the whole city of the church is founded. Of these it is said in the Psalms: it is founded on holy hills (see, eg, Psalms, 15:1); the wall was adorned with every precious stone (see Revelation, 21:18-19). They were furnished, that is, with every kind of virtue and good work. It is not only the prophets and apostles who are called 'foundations', but lesser men also, who had or have a life and faith like theirs. They are called 'foundations' not by virtue of their personalities, but the way in which they exercised their virtue; because it was through their virtue that they founded the church. On account of this, John shows here in which virtues they were as a light in the church, reckoning their number as twelve, demonstrating that they shone in every virtue. For this number signifies the universe, because it is made from parts containing seven, that is by threes and by fours; and that faith is first among the virtues according to the statement of Prudentius. Verse Faith, the first of the virtues, ready to fight, takes to the field in battle with doubt. And because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews, 11:6), faith is set in the first foundation. It should not trouble you that stones
  • Transcription
    nes sunt ros celestis, sicut ante iam [eam] patriarcha Ysaac be\nedicens filium su[u]m significans quia [quod] Christus ex semi\ne eius nasceretur, ait ad eum dicens: Det tibi deus de\ rore celi et de ubertate terre castam atque intactam vir\ginem Mariam significans. Matutinis autem horis\ quod dicitur tempus orationis describit. Quod autem aperit os su\um conchus significat ubi dicit Maria ad ange\lum: Ecce ancilla domini fiat michi secundum verbum\ tuum.\ Fundamenta muri civitatis omni\ lapide precioso ornata, id est prophete et apostoli super\ quorum fidem et doctrinam tota civitas ecclesie fun\data est, de quibus dicitur in [psalmis] fundata est in montibus\ sanctis, omni lapide precioso ornatus. Erant suple[ta], id est omni ge\nere virtutum et bonorum operum nec non solum pro\phete et apostoli fundamenta dicuntur, sed etiam alii minores\ qui fidem et vitam ipsorum habuerunt, vel habent qui non\ racione personarum sed operacione virtutum, fundamen\ta dicuntur, quia per [eas] ecclesiam fundaverunt, [propter] quod Johannis, hic osten\dit quibus virtutibus ipsi in ecclesia [lux erant], reponens\ eos sub duo denario [duodecimo] numero, ut sic ostendat eos splen\duisse omnibus virtutibus. Hic enim numerus universita\tem significat, quia ex partibus septenarii conficitur,\ id est ternario et quaternario, et quia [quod] fides inter virtutes pri\ma est, iuxta illud Prudentii.\ Versus \ Prima petit cam\pum dubia sub sorte duelli, pugnatura fides. Et\ quia sine fide [non] placet deo, ut dicitur Hebreos xi, primo, in primo fun\damento, ponitur fides, nec moveat te quod lapides
Folio 96v - the mermecoleon, continued. Versus; verse | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen