The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 25r - ants continued. Hic incipit de avibus; the account of the birds.


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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.
to the truth. For the Scriptures say: 'Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise' (Proverbs, 6:6). For the ant has no knowledge of cultivation; it has no-one to force it do anything; nor does it act under the direction of a master, telling it how to lay in a store of food. Yet it gathers in its harvest from your labours. And although you often go hungry, it lacks for nothing. It has no locked storehouses, no impenetrable security, no piles of supplies which cannot be touched. The watchman looks on at thefts which he dares not prevent, the owner is aware of his losses but takes no revenge. They carry their booty in a black column across the fields, the paths swarming with the convoy as it passes; the grains that cannot be held in their narrow mouths in narrow parts are consigned to their shoulders. The owner of the harvest looks on and blushes with shame at the thought of denying such frugal gains won by such conscientious industry. The ant has also learned to watch out for periods of fine weather. For if it sees that its supplies of corn are becoming wet, soaked by the rain, it carefully tests the air for signs of a mild spell, then it opens up its stores, and carries its supplies on its shoulders from its vaults underground out into the open, so that the corn can dry in the unbroken sunshine. Finally, you will never on any of those days see rain spouted from the clouds, unless the ant has first returned its supplies of corn to its stores. Here begins the account of the birds Birds have a single name, avis, but a variety of species. For just as they differ in appearance, so they differ in nature. Some are guileless, like doves; others are cunning, like the partridge; some come obediently to man's hand, like hawks; others shun it, like the wild birds called garamantes. Some take pleasure in man's company, like the swallow; others love the solitary life of the wilderness, like turtle-doves. Some feed only on the grain they find, like the goose; others eat flesh and think only of their prey, like the kite. Some live communally, that is, they fly together in flocks, like starlings and quail; others roam the skies alone, that is, they keep to themselves because they take their prey by surprise, like the eagle or the hawk and others of that sort. Some have twittering voices, like the swallow; others sing the sweetest of songs,

Text

Ants continued. The birds. The many types of birds.

Comment

This page marks the start of the Birds, whose type 2 initial is thus embellished with a flourish. Gathering mark (e) at the bottom, and a 'match stick' folio mark, bottom right.

Folio Attributes

  • Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

    Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

    Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks
    Folio Marks

    To make a normal gathering, a sheet of vellum (the skin of a calf, lamb or kid) would be folded over twice and cut around the edges. This would make a gathering or quire of eight folios with sixteen sides. In the Bestiary there are fifteen quires, thirteen of which are made with the usual eight folios. The last two quires, added in the late thirteenth century, have six and four folios respectively. The folios are not precisely cut but in the most regular quires (B and C) they measure 300mm high and 210mm wide. In order to assemble the quires in the correct sequence they were labelled in lead point with letters of the alphabet. Some are missing with the result that the sequence runs -,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,K,-(folio missing),M,N. The last two quires (O and P) are the later additions and are not marked. The quire system was examined by MR James when the book was being rebound and he was able to produce the following analysis of the gatherings: A8 (wants folio 2, 8); B8 (4,5); C8 (4,8); D8 (4,5); E8-L8 (1); M8; N8; O6; P4 (4). Individual sheets in the quire needed to be marked. Although there were eight folios only the first four needed marking because they were folded with the last four. Each sheet was distinctively marked to make sure the quires could not get muddled up. The asterisk sign is repeated in quires B and M but they remain distinct because the B sign is in the top right corner while the M signs are all in the bottom left corner.

Transcription

veritati. Dicit enim scriptura: Conferte ad formicam opiger, \emulare vias eius, et esto illa sapientior. Illa enim culturam nullam \possidet neque eam qui se cogat habet, neque sub domino agit quemad\modum preparat escam, que de tuis laboribus sibi messem recon\dit. Et cum tu plerumque egeas, illa non indiget. Nulla sunt \ei clausa horrea, nulle impenetrabiles custodie, nulli inviolabi\les acervi. Spectat custos furta que prohibere non audeat, aspi\cit sua dampna possessor nec vindicat. Nigro convertatur agmi\ne preda per campos, fervent semite comitatu viantium, et que \comprehendi angusto [A, angustio ore/angustiore] non possunt humeris frumenta traduntur. \Spectat hec dominus messis et erubescit tam parca pie indu\strie negare compendia. Novit etiam formica explorare sere\nitatis tempora. Nam cum adverterit madidatos imbre fruc\tus suos humescere explorato diligentius aere, quando iugem pos\sit servare temperiem, acervos reserat suos, et de cavernis foras \suis humeris exportat, iugi sole propria frumenta siccentur. Denique \haut unquam illis diebus omnibus rumpi de nubibus imbres videbis, \nisi cum fruges suas horreis propriis formica revocaverit. \ Hic incipit de avibus \ Unum autem nomen avium sed genus \diversum. Nam sicut species sibi differunt, ita et nature \diversitate. Nam alie simplices sunt ut columbe, alie astute \ut perdix, alie ad manum se subiciunt ut accipitres, alie reformi\dant ut garamantes. Alie hominum conversatione delectantur \ut hirundo, alie in desertis secretam viam diligunt ut turtura. \Alie solo semine reperto pascuntur ut anser, alie carnes edunt et \rapinis [intendunt] ut milvus. Alie congregate, id est gregatim vo\lantes ut sturni et coturnices, alie solivage, id est solitarie propter \insidias depredandi ut aquila et accipiter, et quecumque ita sunt. \Alie vocibus strepunt ut hirundo, alie cantus edunt dulcissimos \

Translation

to the truth. For the Scriptures say: 'Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise' (Proverbs, 6:6). For the ant has no knowledge of cultivation; it has no-one to force it do anything; nor does it act under the direction of a master, telling it how to lay in a store of food. Yet it gathers in its harvest from your labours. And although you often go hungry, it lacks for nothing. It has no locked storehouses, no impenetrable security, no piles of supplies which cannot be touched. The watchman looks on at thefts which he dares not prevent, the owner is aware of his losses but takes no revenge. They carry their booty in a black column across the fields, the paths swarming with the convoy as it passes; the grains that cannot be held in their narrow mouths in narrow parts are consigned to their shoulders. The owner of the harvest looks on and blushes with shame at the thought of denying such frugal gains won by such conscientious industry. The ant has also learned to watch out for periods of fine weather. For if it sees that its supplies of corn are becoming wet, soaked by the rain, it carefully tests the air for signs of a mild spell, then it opens up its stores, and carries its supplies on its shoulders from its vaults underground out into the open, so that the corn can dry in the unbroken sunshine. Finally, you will never on any of those days see rain spouted from the clouds, unless the ant has first returned its supplies of corn to its stores. Here begins the account of the birds Birds have a single name, avis, but a variety of species. For just as they differ in appearance, so they differ in nature. Some are guileless, like doves; others are cunning, like the partridge; some come obediently to man's hand, like hawks; others shun it, like the wild birds called garamantes. Some take pleasure in man's company, like the swallow; others love the solitary life of the wilderness, like turtle-doves. Some feed only on the grain they find, like the goose; others eat flesh and think only of their prey, like the kite. Some live communally, that is, they fly together in flocks, like starlings and quail; others roam the skies alone, that is, they keep to themselves because they take their prey by surprise, like the eagle or the hawk and others of that sort. Some have twittering voices, like the swallow; others sing the sweetest of songs,
  • Commentary

    Text

    Ants continued. The birds. The many types of birds.

    Comment

    This page marks the start of the Birds, whose type 2 initial is thus embellished with a flourish. Gathering mark (e) at the bottom, and a 'match stick' folio mark, bottom right.

    Folio Attributes

    • Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

      Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

      Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks
      Folio Marks

      To make a normal gathering, a sheet of vellum (the skin of a calf, lamb or kid) would be folded over twice and cut around the edges. This would make a gathering or quire of eight folios with sixteen sides. In the Bestiary there are fifteen quires, thirteen of which are made with the usual eight folios. The last two quires, added in the late thirteenth century, have six and four folios respectively. The folios are not precisely cut but in the most regular quires (B and C) they measure 300mm high and 210mm wide. In order to assemble the quires in the correct sequence they were labelled in lead point with letters of the alphabet. Some are missing with the result that the sequence runs -,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,K,-(folio missing),M,N. The last two quires (O and P) are the later additions and are not marked. The quire system was examined by MR James when the book was being rebound and he was able to produce the following analysis of the gatherings: A8 (wants folio 2, 8); B8 (4,5); C8 (4,8); D8 (4,5); E8-L8 (1); M8; N8; O6; P4 (4). Individual sheets in the quire needed to be marked. Although there were eight folios only the first four needed marking because they were folded with the last four. Each sheet was distinctively marked to make sure the quires could not get muddled up. The asterisk sign is repeated in quires B and M but they remain distinct because the B sign is in the top right corner while the M signs are all in the bottom left corner.

  • Translation
    to the truth. For the Scriptures say: 'Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise' (Proverbs, 6:6). For the ant has no knowledge of cultivation; it has no-one to force it do anything; nor does it act under the direction of a master, telling it how to lay in a store of food. Yet it gathers in its harvest from your labours. And although you often go hungry, it lacks for nothing. It has no locked storehouses, no impenetrable security, no piles of supplies which cannot be touched. The watchman looks on at thefts which he dares not prevent, the owner is aware of his losses but takes no revenge. They carry their booty in a black column across the fields, the paths swarming with the convoy as it passes; the grains that cannot be held in their narrow mouths in narrow parts are consigned to their shoulders. The owner of the harvest looks on and blushes with shame at the thought of denying such frugal gains won by such conscientious industry. The ant has also learned to watch out for periods of fine weather. For if it sees that its supplies of corn are becoming wet, soaked by the rain, it carefully tests the air for signs of a mild spell, then it opens up its stores, and carries its supplies on its shoulders from its vaults underground out into the open, so that the corn can dry in the unbroken sunshine. Finally, you will never on any of those days see rain spouted from the clouds, unless the ant has first returned its supplies of corn to its stores. Here begins the account of the birds Birds have a single name, avis, but a variety of species. For just as they differ in appearance, so they differ in nature. Some are guileless, like doves; others are cunning, like the partridge; some come obediently to man's hand, like hawks; others shun it, like the wild birds called garamantes. Some take pleasure in man's company, like the swallow; others love the solitary life of the wilderness, like turtle-doves. Some feed only on the grain they find, like the goose; others eat flesh and think only of their prey, like the kite. Some live communally, that is, they fly together in flocks, like starlings and quail; others roam the skies alone, that is, they keep to themselves because they take their prey by surprise, like the eagle or the hawk and others of that sort. Some have twittering voices, like the swallow; others sing the sweetest of songs,
  • Transcription
    veritati. Dicit enim scriptura: Conferte ad formicam opiger, \emulare vias eius, et esto illa sapientior. Illa enim culturam nullam \possidet neque eam qui se cogat habet, neque sub domino agit quemad\modum preparat escam, que de tuis laboribus sibi messem recon\dit. Et cum tu plerumque egeas, illa non indiget. Nulla sunt \ei clausa horrea, nulle impenetrabiles custodie, nulli inviolabi\les acervi. Spectat custos furta que prohibere non audeat, aspi\cit sua dampna possessor nec vindicat. Nigro convertatur agmi\ne preda per campos, fervent semite comitatu viantium, et que \comprehendi angusto [A, angustio ore/angustiore] non possunt humeris frumenta traduntur. \Spectat hec dominus messis et erubescit tam parca pie indu\strie negare compendia. Novit etiam formica explorare sere\nitatis tempora. Nam cum adverterit madidatos imbre fruc\tus suos humescere explorato diligentius aere, quando iugem pos\sit servare temperiem, acervos reserat suos, et de cavernis foras \suis humeris exportat, iugi sole propria frumenta siccentur. Denique \haut unquam illis diebus omnibus rumpi de nubibus imbres videbis, \nisi cum fruges suas horreis propriis formica revocaverit. \ Hic incipit de avibus \ Unum autem nomen avium sed genus \diversum. Nam sicut species sibi differunt, ita et nature \diversitate. Nam alie simplices sunt ut columbe, alie astute \ut perdix, alie ad manum se subiciunt ut accipitres, alie reformi\dant ut garamantes. Alie hominum conversatione delectantur \ut hirundo, alie in desertis secretam viam diligunt ut turtura. \Alie solo semine reperto pascuntur ut anser, alie carnes edunt et \rapinis [intendunt] ut milvus. Alie congregate, id est gregatim vo\lantes ut sturni et coturnices, alie solivage, id est solitarie propter \insidias depredandi ut aquila et accipiter, et quecumque ita sunt. \Alie vocibus strepunt ut hirundo, alie cantus edunt dulcissimos \
Folio 25r - ants continued. Hic incipit de avibus; the account of the birds. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen