The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 38v - the raven, continued. De gallo; Of the cock


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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.
In this respect, it is well said: 'When his young ones cry unto God ...' (Job, 38:41). For they know that they can do nothing through their own virtue alone, and however much they hunger with pious voices for the riches of their souls, they hunger with pious voices, they long for these things to be brought about by him, however, who brings about all things inwardly. For they understand with true faith that 'neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth but God that giveth it increase' (1 Corinthians, 3:7-8). It is said: 'They wander for lack of meat' (Job, 38:41). 'Wandering' here signifies nothing else but the vows of preachers moved by passion. While they travel about to receive their young into the bosom of the Church, inflamed with great ardour, they apply their yearning zeal to gather in now some, now others. In fact, the very heat of their intention is itself a kind of wandering. It also represents the way in which they travel to a variety of places where life is different, when they hurry here and there, eager of mind, to help souls in innumerable ways in different places. This statement in Job can be explained in another way: that the raven signifies certain prelates, or dignitaries of the Church, black from the soot of their sins. They not only get food for themselves but also get it dressed, with the result that they live more luxuriously than others. The raven's young, in this interpretation, represent the prelates' disciples. 'The young', it is said, 'cry unto God'. The disciples, however, grumble that their masters eat too well. They leave the cloister and wander off in search of an abundance of food. There are other, bigger ravens; these are the prelates eminent in power and rank who, gathering their congregation in Church, urge it in their sermons to fast, while they themselves eat flesh on fast-days, thus scandalising and offending ordinary people. This puts doubts in the people's mind and they wonder if the prelates who advocated fasting really believe that it is worthwhile. This is enough about the raven for the moment, until someone else says something more significant about it. Of the cock The cock, gallus, gets its name from the act of castration. For alone among other birds its testicles are removed, and the ancients called castrated men galli. As from the lion

Text

The raven feeding its young. The Cock.

Comment

three text corrections in margin. Initial type 2.

Folio Attributes

  • Scribal Corrections

    Scribal Corrections

    Scribal Corrections
    The Bestiary scribe ends, the Lapidary scribe begins. Detail from f.94r

    When the ruling was complete the quires were ready to receive the text. At this point the scribe had a clear idea about the precise layout of each page. He had to leave the correct amount of space for the rubrics, capitals and illuminations to be added. The scribal hand is fairly uniform throughout, though Clark (2006, 223) observes the Gothic textura formata (the type of lettering) changes on f.19r, becoming ‘somewhat more compact and rounded’. There is a marked change of hand, below the illustration of the dove and hawk on f.26r, for only 5 lines. The quill is broader and the letters larger but less steady or uniform. Another scribe, with a later thirteenth-century hand, writes the lapidary section of the book, beginning on f.94r. Sometimes the scribe made mistakes or omissions which were picked up by a contemporary editor. On f.17r you can see corrections written lightly in the margin with part of the text erased and corrected accordingly. Most of the corrections occur in the Aviarium section, f.25r-f.63r.

  • 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

toris sui. Unde bene dicitur: Quando pulli eius ad deum clamant.\ Nichil enim sua virtute posse se sciunt, et quamvis anima[rum]\ lucra piis vocibus esuriant, ab illo tamen qui cuncta intrinsecus\ operatur hec fieri exoptant. Vera enim fide comprehendunt, quia [PL, quod] nec \ qui plantat est aliquid neque qui rigat, sed qui incrementum dat [PL, deus].\ Quod vero dictum est: vagantes eo quod non habeant cibos. In\ hac vagatione nil aliud quam estuantium predicatorum vota\ signantur. Qui dum in ecclesie sinum recipere pullos ambiunt,\ magno ardore succensi, nunc ad hos nunc ad illos colligen\dos desiderium mittunt. Quasi quedam quippe vagatio est\ ipsa cogitationis estuatio. Et velud ad loca varia mutatis\ moribus transeunt, dum pro adiuvandis animabus in modos in\numeros in partes diversas esuriente mente discurrunt.\ Potest hec auctoritas aliter exponi, ut per corvum intelligantur\ quidam ecclesiarum prelati, peccatorum fuligine nigri. Qui non\ tantum escam suam sibi parant sed etiam preparant, ut pre ceteris delica\cius vivant. Quorum pulli, sunt eorum discipuli. Qui ad deum\ clamant, et tamen murmurant quod eorum magistri in cibum\ delicatiora sumant. Vagantes a claustris exeunt, et sic ha\bundantiam victualium sibi querunt. Sunt et alii maiores cor\vi, potestate maiores dignitate sublimes qui quandoque populos\ in ecclesiis congregant, ieiunia predicant, ipsi tamen in diebus ieiuni\orum carnes edunt et sic simplices scandalizant et offen\dunt. Inde populi vagantes mente dubitant, verum prelati\ qui ieiunia docent ea populis prodesse credant. Et hoc ad presens\ de corvo dixisse sufficiat, donec aliquis de eo pociora dicat.\ De gallo\ Gallus a castratione vocatus.\ Inter ceteras enim aves huic soli testiculi adimuntur,\ veteres enim abscisos gallos vocabant. Sicut autem a leone\

Translation

In this respect, it is well said: 'When his young ones cry unto God ...' (Job, 38:41). For they know that they can do nothing through their own virtue alone, and however much they hunger with pious voices for the riches of their souls, they hunger with pious voices, they long for these things to be brought about by him, however, who brings about all things inwardly. For they understand with true faith that 'neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth but God that giveth it increase' (1 Corinthians, 3:7-8). It is said: 'They wander for lack of meat' (Job, 38:41). 'Wandering' here signifies nothing else but the vows of preachers moved by passion. While they travel about to receive their young into the bosom of the Church, inflamed with great ardour, they apply their yearning zeal to gather in now some, now others. In fact, the very heat of their intention is itself a kind of wandering. It also represents the way in which they travel to a variety of places where life is different, when they hurry here and there, eager of mind, to help souls in innumerable ways in different places. This statement in Job can be explained in another way: that the raven signifies certain prelates, or dignitaries of the Church, black from the soot of their sins. They not only get food for themselves but also get it dressed, with the result that they live more luxuriously than others. The raven's young, in this interpretation, represent the prelates' disciples. 'The young', it is said, 'cry unto God'. The disciples, however, grumble that their masters eat too well. They leave the cloister and wander off in search of an abundance of food. There are other, bigger ravens; these are the prelates eminent in power and rank who, gathering their congregation in Church, urge it in their sermons to fast, while they themselves eat flesh on fast-days, thus scandalising and offending ordinary people. This puts doubts in the people's mind and they wonder if the prelates who advocated fasting really believe that it is worthwhile. This is enough about the raven for the moment, until someone else says something more significant about it. Of the cock The cock, gallus, gets its name from the act of castration. For alone among other birds its testicles are removed, and the ancients called castrated men galli. As from the lion
  • Commentary

    Text

    The raven feeding its young. The Cock.

    Comment

    three text corrections in margin. Initial type 2.

    Folio Attributes

    • Scribal Corrections

      Scribal Corrections

      Scribal Corrections
      The Bestiary scribe ends, the Lapidary scribe begins. Detail from f.94r

      When the ruling was complete the quires were ready to receive the text. At this point the scribe had a clear idea about the precise layout of each page. He had to leave the correct amount of space for the rubrics, capitals and illuminations to be added. The scribal hand is fairly uniform throughout, though Clark (2006, 223) observes the Gothic textura formata (the type of lettering) changes on f.19r, becoming ‘somewhat more compact and rounded’. There is a marked change of hand, below the illustration of the dove and hawk on f.26r, for only 5 lines. The quill is broader and the letters larger but less steady or uniform. Another scribe, with a later thirteenth-century hand, writes the lapidary section of the book, beginning on f.94r. Sometimes the scribe made mistakes or omissions which were picked up by a contemporary editor. On f.17r you can see corrections written lightly in the margin with part of the text erased and corrected accordingly. Most of the corrections occur in the Aviarium section, f.25r-f.63r.

    • 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
    In this respect, it is well said: 'When his young ones cry unto God ...' (Job, 38:41). For they know that they can do nothing through their own virtue alone, and however much they hunger with pious voices for the riches of their souls, they hunger with pious voices, they long for these things to be brought about by him, however, who brings about all things inwardly. For they understand with true faith that 'neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth but God that giveth it increase' (1 Corinthians, 3:7-8). It is said: 'They wander for lack of meat' (Job, 38:41). 'Wandering' here signifies nothing else but the vows of preachers moved by passion. While they travel about to receive their young into the bosom of the Church, inflamed with great ardour, they apply their yearning zeal to gather in now some, now others. In fact, the very heat of their intention is itself a kind of wandering. It also represents the way in which they travel to a variety of places where life is different, when they hurry here and there, eager of mind, to help souls in innumerable ways in different places. This statement in Job can be explained in another way: that the raven signifies certain prelates, or dignitaries of the Church, black from the soot of their sins. They not only get food for themselves but also get it dressed, with the result that they live more luxuriously than others. The raven's young, in this interpretation, represent the prelates' disciples. 'The young', it is said, 'cry unto God'. The disciples, however, grumble that their masters eat too well. They leave the cloister and wander off in search of an abundance of food. There are other, bigger ravens; these are the prelates eminent in power and rank who, gathering their congregation in Church, urge it in their sermons to fast, while they themselves eat flesh on fast-days, thus scandalising and offending ordinary people. This puts doubts in the people's mind and they wonder if the prelates who advocated fasting really believe that it is worthwhile. This is enough about the raven for the moment, until someone else says something more significant about it. Of the cock The cock, gallus, gets its name from the act of castration. For alone among other birds its testicles are removed, and the ancients called castrated men galli. As from the lion
  • Transcription
    toris sui. Unde bene dicitur: Quando pulli eius ad deum clamant.\ Nichil enim sua virtute posse se sciunt, et quamvis anima[rum]\ lucra piis vocibus esuriant, ab illo tamen qui cuncta intrinsecus\ operatur hec fieri exoptant. Vera enim fide comprehendunt, quia [PL, quod] nec \ qui plantat est aliquid neque qui rigat, sed qui incrementum dat [PL, deus].\ Quod vero dictum est: vagantes eo quod non habeant cibos. In\ hac vagatione nil aliud quam estuantium predicatorum vota\ signantur. Qui dum in ecclesie sinum recipere pullos ambiunt,\ magno ardore succensi, nunc ad hos nunc ad illos colligen\dos desiderium mittunt. Quasi quedam quippe vagatio est\ ipsa cogitationis estuatio. Et velud ad loca varia mutatis\ moribus transeunt, dum pro adiuvandis animabus in modos in\numeros in partes diversas esuriente mente discurrunt.\ Potest hec auctoritas aliter exponi, ut per corvum intelligantur\ quidam ecclesiarum prelati, peccatorum fuligine nigri. Qui non\ tantum escam suam sibi parant sed etiam preparant, ut pre ceteris delica\cius vivant. Quorum pulli, sunt eorum discipuli. Qui ad deum\ clamant, et tamen murmurant quod eorum magistri in cibum\ delicatiora sumant. Vagantes a claustris exeunt, et sic ha\bundantiam victualium sibi querunt. Sunt et alii maiores cor\vi, potestate maiores dignitate sublimes qui quandoque populos\ in ecclesiis congregant, ieiunia predicant, ipsi tamen in diebus ieiuni\orum carnes edunt et sic simplices scandalizant et offen\dunt. Inde populi vagantes mente dubitant, verum prelati\ qui ieiunia docent ea populis prodesse credant. Et hoc ad presens\ de corvo dixisse sufficiat, donec aliquis de eo pociora dicat.\ De gallo\ Gallus a castratione vocatus.\ Inter ceteras enim aves huic soli testiculi adimuntur,\ veteres enim abscisos gallos vocabant. Sicut autem a leone\
Folio 38v - the raven, continued. De gallo; Of the cock | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen