Folio 39v Translation and Transcription
||Folio 39v Translation
Deciding how sinners should be punished is like marking the hours of the night. To mark the hours of the night, is to reprimand in a suitably reproachful voice the darkness of their deeds.
Thus understanding has been assigned to the cock from above, as the virtue of judgement has been given by God's will to the teacher of the truth, so that he can tell to whom, what, when and how he should respond.
For the same kind of encouragement does not suit everyone, because we are not all bound by the same standard of behaviour. Often what harms some helps others. Frequently, the grasses which refresh these animals kill those; a soft whistle calms horses, but excites young dogs; the remedy which heals one ailment makes another worse; and the food which builds up strong men kills babies. The language of teachers must therefore be adapted to the condition of their listeners, so that it should meet each one's needs yet never lack the capacity to instruct them all at the same time.
For what are the attentive minds of listeners if not the strings stretched on a lyre? The musician strikes each one differently so that it is not out of tune with the rest. And therefore the strings give a harmonious sound because they are struck with a single plectrum but not with the same stroke. For this reason a teacher should touch the strings of his listeners in order to instruct them all in the single virtue of love, drawing on one doctrine, but with more than one form of encouragement.
We should, however, consider something else in the context of the cock's power of understanding. It has the habit of crowing very loudly and deeply in the darkest hours of the night, but produces, as dawn approaches, a softer and less forceful sound. In this case, the thoughtful judgement of preachers shows what the understanding of the cock should signify to us.
When they preach to minds which have hitherto been evil, they evoke the terrors of eternal judgement at the top of their voice, as if they were cocks crowing in the darkest hours of the night. But when they realise that the light of truth is already present in the hearts of their listeners,