The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 36r - the night owl, continued. De epopo; the hoopoe


Translation Open Book View Download image for personal, teaching or research purposes Help Copyright

Help

To explore the image, simply click the image to zoom, double-click to zoom out, or click-drag to pan. You can also zoom in and out using the mouse scroll wheel.

Shortcuts

(Alt is Option on Macintosh)

  • Alt-click-drag to create a zoom-rectangle
  • Alt-click / Alt-double-click to zoom fully in / out
  • Alt-click-Reset button to return to the prior view

The thumbnail view in the top left can also be clicked or click-dragged to pan.

Keyboard shortcuts:

  • a to zoom in
  • z to zoom out
  • Arrow keys pan arround the image
  • Escape resets initial view or exits fullscreen

Toolbar buttons

Use the Toolbar for exact navigation - if using a mouse, hold it over any button to see a helpful tip.


Zoom out

Zoom in

Pan left

Pan right

Pan up

Pan down

Reset Image

Full screen view

View translation alongside image

View double page - bi folio

Download image for personal, research or teaching purposes

Help

Commentary, Translation and Transcription

These sections are located below the image on each page, scroll down page and click on the tabs to view them. It is also possible to view the translation alongside the image by clicking the translation icon in the toolbar

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.
he said to the leper: 'See thou tell no man' (Matthew, 8:4). Of this light it is said: 'And from the wicked their light is witholden' (Job, 38:15), that is, the glory of present life. He himself is the light inaccessible 'which lighteth every man' (John, 1:9). The light, therefore, shuns the light, that is, the truth shuns the vanity of worldly glory. The night-owl flies at night in search of food, as Christ converts sinners into the body of the Church by preaching. In a moral sense, moreover, the night-owl signifies to us not just any righteous man, but rather one who lives among other men yet hides from their view as much as possible. He flees from the light, in the sense that he does not look for the glory of human praise. It is said of this light: 'Will the light of the wicked not be put out, and the spark of his fire not shine?' (see Job, 17:5). 'Light' here signifies the prosperity of present life. The light of the wicked is extinguished, in the sense that the prosperity of our fleeting life ends with life itself. Will the flame of his fire not shine? 'Fire' here is the passion of temporal desires. Its flame is the splendour or outward show of power which comes from its inner fire. But it will not shine because on the day of death all outward splendour and power will perish. The night-owl keeps watch in the night, as when the righteous man, alert to the darkness of sinners, avoids their errors. It lives in the cracks of walls, in the sense that he considers the weakness of the world and awaits its downfall. It seeks food by night, as when he reflects upon the life of sinners and uses their example to nourish the mind of the righteous. Of the hoopoe When the bird called the hoopoe sees that its parents have grown old and that their eyes are dim, it plucks out their old plumage and licks their eyes and keeps them warm, and its parents' life is renewed. It as if the hoopoe said to them: 'Just as you took pains in feeding me, I will do likewise for you.' If birds, who lack reason, do as much for each other, how much more should men, who have the power of reason, support their parents in return; because the law says: 'And he that curses his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death' (Exodus, 21:17); it is as if he were guilty of parricide or matricide. See how the hoopoes pluck their parents' plumage and lick their eyes, in order that they should regain their former health.

Text

The night owl continued; the hoopoe. The young hoopoe looks after its ageing parents, giving them new life by plucking out their old plumage and cleansing their eyes.

Comment

Initial type 3. Pricking for pouncing on f.36v visible. Folio mark of four horizontal 'matchsticks' on top right corner.

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.

  • 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

ret, ait leproso: Vide nemini dixeris. De hac luce dicitur: Auferetur\ ab impiis lux sua, id est presentis vite gloria. Ipse autem est lux inacces\sibilis: que illuminat omnem hominem. Lux igitur refugit lu\cem, id est veritas humane glorie vanitatem. In nocte volitans escas\ querit, quia peccatores in corpus ecclesie predicando convertit. Moraliter\ autem nicticorax non quemlibet iustum nobis innuit, sed eum qui\ inter homines degens ab intuitu hominum se in quantum potuit\ abscondit. Lucem refugit, quia humane laudis gloriam non attendit.\ De qua luce dicitur: Nonne lux impii extinguetur nec splendebit flam\ma ignis eius. Lucem dicit presentis vite prosperitatem. Sed lux impii\ extinguitur, quia fugitive vite prosperitas cum ipsa terminatur. Nec splende\bit flamma ignis eius? Ignem dicit temporalium desideriorum fervo\rem. Cuius flamma est decor vel potestas externe que de interno eius \ ardore procedit. Sed non splendebit quia in die exitus omnis exterior\ decor et potestas peribit. In nocte vigilat, dum peccatorum tenebras \ attendens eorum errores vitat. Habitat in rimis parietum, dum \ mundi defectum considerat, et expectat occasum. Escam in nocte\ querit, quia peccantium vitam recogitans de exemplis iustorum\ mentem pascit.\ De epopo\ Avis que dicitur epopus quando viderit parentes eius [senuis-]\ se et caligasse oculos eorum, evellit plumas eorum et ocu\los eorum lingit et calefacit eos et renovantur parentes ipsius, quasi\ dicens parentibus suis, sicut laborastis nutrientes me similiter ego\ facio vobis. Si autem hoc faciunt sibi invicem irrationabiles quan\to magis rationabiles homines parentum suorum nutrimenta\ mutua reddere debent, quia lex dicit: Qui maledixerit patri vel\ matri morte morietur, et est quasi patricida et matricida. Ecce\ quomodo epopi plumas parentum evellunt, et oculos eorum\ lingunt, et eos calefaciunt, ut pristinam sanitatem recuperent.\

Translation

he said to the leper: 'See thou tell no man' (Matthew, 8:4). Of this light it is said: 'And from the wicked their light is witholden' (Job, 38:15), that is, the glory of present life. He himself is the light inaccessible 'which lighteth every man' (John, 1:9). The light, therefore, shuns the light, that is, the truth shuns the vanity of worldly glory. The night-owl flies at night in search of food, as Christ converts sinners into the body of the Church by preaching. In a moral sense, moreover, the night-owl signifies to us not just any righteous man, but rather one who lives among other men yet hides from their view as much as possible. He flees from the light, in the sense that he does not look for the glory of human praise. It is said of this light: 'Will the light of the wicked not be put out, and the spark of his fire not shine?' (see Job, 17:5). 'Light' here signifies the prosperity of present life. The light of the wicked is extinguished, in the sense that the prosperity of our fleeting life ends with life itself. Will the flame of his fire not shine? 'Fire' here is the passion of temporal desires. Its flame is the splendour or outward show of power which comes from its inner fire. But it will not shine because on the day of death all outward splendour and power will perish. The night-owl keeps watch in the night, as when the righteous man, alert to the darkness of sinners, avoids their errors. It lives in the cracks of walls, in the sense that he considers the weakness of the world and awaits its downfall. It seeks food by night, as when he reflects upon the life of sinners and uses their example to nourish the mind of the righteous. Of the hoopoe When the bird called the hoopoe sees that its parents have grown old and that their eyes are dim, it plucks out their old plumage and licks their eyes and keeps them warm, and its parents' life is renewed. It as if the hoopoe said to them: 'Just as you took pains in feeding me, I will do likewise for you.' If birds, who lack reason, do as much for each other, how much more should men, who have the power of reason, support their parents in return; because the law says: 'And he that curses his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death' (Exodus, 21:17); it is as if he were guilty of parricide or matricide. See how the hoopoes pluck their parents' plumage and lick their eyes, in order that they should regain their former health.
  • Commentary

    Text

    The night owl continued; the hoopoe. The young hoopoe looks after its ageing parents, giving them new life by plucking out their old plumage and cleansing their eyes.

    Comment

    Initial type 3. Pricking for pouncing on f.36v visible. Folio mark of four horizontal 'matchsticks' on top right corner.

    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.

    • 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
    he said to the leper: 'See thou tell no man' (Matthew, 8:4). Of this light it is said: 'And from the wicked their light is witholden' (Job, 38:15), that is, the glory of present life. He himself is the light inaccessible 'which lighteth every man' (John, 1:9). The light, therefore, shuns the light, that is, the truth shuns the vanity of worldly glory. The night-owl flies at night in search of food, as Christ converts sinners into the body of the Church by preaching. In a moral sense, moreover, the night-owl signifies to us not just any righteous man, but rather one who lives among other men yet hides from their view as much as possible. He flees from the light, in the sense that he does not look for the glory of human praise. It is said of this light: 'Will the light of the wicked not be put out, and the spark of his fire not shine?' (see Job, 17:5). 'Light' here signifies the prosperity of present life. The light of the wicked is extinguished, in the sense that the prosperity of our fleeting life ends with life itself. Will the flame of his fire not shine? 'Fire' here is the passion of temporal desires. Its flame is the splendour or outward show of power which comes from its inner fire. But it will not shine because on the day of death all outward splendour and power will perish. The night-owl keeps watch in the night, as when the righteous man, alert to the darkness of sinners, avoids their errors. It lives in the cracks of walls, in the sense that he considers the weakness of the world and awaits its downfall. It seeks food by night, as when he reflects upon the life of sinners and uses their example to nourish the mind of the righteous. Of the hoopoe When the bird called the hoopoe sees that its parents have grown old and that their eyes are dim, it plucks out their old plumage and licks their eyes and keeps them warm, and its parents' life is renewed. It as if the hoopoe said to them: 'Just as you took pains in feeding me, I will do likewise for you.' If birds, who lack reason, do as much for each other, how much more should men, who have the power of reason, support their parents in return; because the law says: 'And he that curses his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death' (Exodus, 21:17); it is as if he were guilty of parricide or matricide. See how the hoopoes pluck their parents' plumage and lick their eyes, in order that they should regain their former health.
  • Transcription
    ret, ait leproso: Vide nemini dixeris. De hac luce dicitur: Auferetur\ ab impiis lux sua, id est presentis vite gloria. Ipse autem est lux inacces\sibilis: que illuminat omnem hominem. Lux igitur refugit lu\cem, id est veritas humane glorie vanitatem. In nocte volitans escas\ querit, quia peccatores in corpus ecclesie predicando convertit. Moraliter\ autem nicticorax non quemlibet iustum nobis innuit, sed eum qui\ inter homines degens ab intuitu hominum se in quantum potuit\ abscondit. Lucem refugit, quia humane laudis gloriam non attendit.\ De qua luce dicitur: Nonne lux impii extinguetur nec splendebit flam\ma ignis eius. Lucem dicit presentis vite prosperitatem. Sed lux impii\ extinguitur, quia fugitive vite prosperitas cum ipsa terminatur. Nec splende\bit flamma ignis eius? Ignem dicit temporalium desideriorum fervo\rem. Cuius flamma est decor vel potestas externe que de interno eius \ ardore procedit. Sed non splendebit quia in die exitus omnis exterior\ decor et potestas peribit. In nocte vigilat, dum peccatorum tenebras \ attendens eorum errores vitat. Habitat in rimis parietum, dum \ mundi defectum considerat, et expectat occasum. Escam in nocte\ querit, quia peccantium vitam recogitans de exemplis iustorum\ mentem pascit.\ De epopo\ Avis que dicitur epopus quando viderit parentes eius [senuis-]\ se et caligasse oculos eorum, evellit plumas eorum et ocu\los eorum lingit et calefacit eos et renovantur parentes ipsius, quasi\ dicens parentibus suis, sicut laborastis nutrientes me similiter ego\ facio vobis. Si autem hoc faciunt sibi invicem irrationabiles quan\to magis rationabiles homines parentum suorum nutrimenta\ mutua reddere debent, quia lex dicit: Qui maledixerit patri vel\ matri morte morietur, et est quasi patricida et matricida. Ecce\ quomodo epopi plumas parentum evellunt, et oculos eorum\ lingunt, et eos calefaciunt, ut pristinam sanitatem recuperent.\
Folio 36r - the night owl, continued. De epopo; the hoopoe | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen