The raven, a sinner and a teacher.
On the top line 'in libro' has been written twice and the duplicate is struck out. The scribe omitted the essential word 'devil' from the first sentence, added by the editor in the margin. '?s est diabolus' [ start unclear].
- Transcription and Translation
TranscriptionYsidorus [in libro, deleted] in libro ethimologiarum dicit, quod corvus\ prius in cadaveribus petit oculum, quia in carnalibus intellectum discre\tionis extinguit, et sic per oculum extrahit cerebrum. Per oculum \ cerebrum extrahit, qui [PL, quia] extincto discretionis intellectu, sen\sum mentis evertit. Iterum per corvum quilibet peccator intelli\gitur, qui quasi peccatorum plumis nigrescentibus vestitur. Sunt autem\ quidam peccatores qui de misericordia dei desperant. Sunt et alii qui ad\ hoc religiosorum precibus [ad]iuventur exorant. De quibus dicitur:\ Corvi paverunt Heliam. Per corvos igitur peccatores intelligi volunt,\ qui de sua substantia religiosis pascunt. Illos enim Helias signi\ficat, quos locus et habitus religionis occultat. Sunt alii qui des\perant, terrenis inhiant, cum intus debent esse foras spectant. De\ quibus scriptura dicit: Corvus ad archam non rediit, quia forsitan\ aquis diluvii interceptus periit, vel cadaveribus inventis, forsitan\ supersedit. Similiter peccator qui carnalibus desideriis foras pascitur,\ quasi corvus qui ad archam non rediit, curis exterioribus detinetur.\ Sed in bona significatione corvus accipitur, ut per corvum quilibet\ doctus predicator intelligatur. Unde per beatum Job dicitur: Quis preparat\ corvo escam suam, quando pulli eius ad dominum clamant, vagantes eo quod\ non habeat cibos? Corvus sicut ait beatus Gregorius, est quisque predi\cator doctus, qui magna voce clamat, dum peccatorum suorum\ memoriam quasi quandam coloris nigredinem portat. Cui nascun\tur in fide discipuli, sed fortasse adhuc considerare infirmitatem\ propriam nescunt, fortasse a peccatis preteritis memoriam avertunt.\ Et per hoc eam quam assumi oportet contra huius mundi gloriam, hu\militatis nigredinem non ostendunt, hii velut ad accipiendas\ escas os aperiunt, cum doceri de secretis sublimibus querunt. Set\ eis doctor suus alimenta predicamentorum sublimium tanto \
TranslationIn his book of Etymologies, Isidore says that the raven picks out the eyes in corpses first, as the Devil destroys the capacity for judgement in carnal men, and proceeds to extract the brain through the eye. The raven extracts the brain through the eye, as the Devil, when it has destroyed our capacity for judgement, destroys our mental faculties. Again, the raven can be taken to mean a sinner, since it is clad, so to speak, with the dark plumage of sin. There are some sinners who despair of God's mercy. Others pray that they may be helped to find it by the prayers of the pious. Of the second sort, it is said: 'The ravens fed Elijah' (see 1 Kings, 17:6). By 'ravens' we are meant to understand the sinners who support the religious from their own resources. Elijah signifies those who live hidden in the habit and house of a religious order. The former sinners who despair, long for worldly things and look outwards when they should look inwards. Of these the scripture says: 'The raven did not return to the ark' (see Genesis, 8:7); perhaps because it was caught up and perished in the flood, or perhaps because it found corpses and settled on them. In the same way, the sinner who gratifies himself outwardly with carnal desires, like the raven that did not return to the ark, is held back by external preoccupations. But the raven can also be interpreted in a good sense, as a learned preacher. On this subject, it says in the book of the blessed Job: 'Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat' (38:41). The raven, as the blessed Gregory says, is the learned teacher who cries out in a loud voice, carrying the memory of his sins like blackness around him. He produces disciples in the faith, but perhaps they cannot yet address their own weakness, perhaps they shun the memory of their former sins. As a result they do not show the blackness of humility, which they ought to adopt against worldly glory. They open their mouth as if for food when they seek instruction in the mysteries of religion. But their teacher imparts the nourishment of sublime preaching only to the extent