The swallow is a skilful nest builder and migrates.
the portrait of the swallow depicts the bird quite accurately with a forked tail, dark back and red breast. This precise depiction is also found in the Ashmole Bestiary and British Library Roy 12C xix(T). One text correction in the margin. Initial is type 2, with a colour guide ('a') azure in the margin.Editorial correction: 'aliis' [for ‘adiris’] , meaning 'The swallow is not attacked by other birds'
- Transcription and Translation
Transcriptionet inde sume tibi mundissimos cibos quos enumerat apostolus dicens:\ Fructus autem spiritus est caritas, gaudium, pax, pacientia, longani\ mitas, et cetera. Nisi sol et luna extenderint radios suos, non lucent.\ Volucres nisi extenderint alas suas, volare non poterunt. Sic ergo tu homo\ si te signo crucis non munieris, gemineque dilectionis alas non\ extenderis, ad quietissimum portum celestis patrie per medias huius\ mundi procellas transmeare non poteris. Denique cum Moyses elevaret\ manus suas, superabat Israel. Cum vero remitteret manus suas, superabat Ama\ lech. \ De yrundine \ Turtur et yrundo et ciconia\ cognoverunt adventus sui\ diem. Israel autem non cognovit\ iudicium domini. De turture\ superius diximus, restat autem\ ut de yrundine et ciconia postea\ disseramus. Unde Ysidorus: yrundo\ dicta quod cibos non sumit residens, sed in aere escas capiat et comme\ dat. Garrula avis per tortuosos orbes et flexuosos volans circuitus\ pervolans, et in nidis construendis, educandisque fetibus sollertis\ sima habens etiam quiddam prescium, quod lapsura deferat, nec appe\ tat culmina. A diris quoque avibus non impeditur, nec unquam preda est,\ maria transvolat ibique hyeme commoratur. Hirundo miniscula avis\ corpore, sed egregie pio sublimis affectu, indiga rerum omnium,\ preciosiores auro nidos, quia sapienter nidificat. Nidus enim\ sapientie preciosior est auro. Quid enim sapientius quam ut volandi\ vaga libertate pociatur, et hominum domiciliis parvulos suos et\ tecta commendet ubi sobolem nullus incurset. Nam illud est\ pulchrum ut a primo ortu pullos humane usu conversationis\ assuescat, et prestet ab iminicarum avium insidiis tuciores. Tum\
Translationand thereafter eat the purest of food of which the apostle spoke, saying: 'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace longsuffering etc' (see Galatians, 5:22). If the sun and moon did not send forth their rays, they would give no light. If birds did not spread their wings, they could not fly. Thus, you, O man, if you do not protect yourself with the sign of the cross, and spread the wings of twofold love, you will not be able to pass through the tempests of this world to that most peaceful haven of the heavenly land. 'And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed' (Exodus, 17:11). Of the swallow 'The turtle-dove and the stork and the swallow observe the time of their coming. But my people know not the judgment of the Lord' (see Jeremiah, 8:7). We have talked of the turtle-dove; that leaves the swallow and after it the stork to be discussed Isidore says this about it: 'The swallow is so called because it does not feed on the ground but catches its food and eats it in the air. It is a twittering bird that flies in twisting, turning loops and circuits, is highly skilled in building its nest and rearing its young, and has also a kind of foresight because it lets you know when buildings are about to fall by refusing to nest on their tops. In addition, it is not harrassed by birds of prey nor is it ever their victim. It flies across the sea and winters there.' The swallow is a tiny bird but of an eminently pious nature; lacking in everything, it constructs nests which are more valuable than gold because it builds them wisely. For the nest of wisdom is more precious than gold. And what is wiser than to have, as the swallow does, the capacity to fly where it likes and to entrust its nest and its young to the houses of men, where none will attack them. For there is something attractive in the way that the swallow accustoms its young from their earliest days to the company of people and keeps them safe from the attacks of hostile bird Then