The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 54r - [De perdice]; Of the partridge


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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.
Of the partridge The partridge gets its name from the sound it makes. It is a cunning and unclean bird. For one male mounts another and in their reckless lust they forget their sex. The partridge is so deceitful that one will steal another's eggs. But the trick does not work. For when the young hear the cry of their real mother, their natural instinct is to leave the bird that is brooding them and return to the mother who produced them. The Devil imitates their example, trying to rob the eternal Creator of those he has created; if he succeeds somehow in bringing together men who are foolish and lack any sense of their own inner strength, he cossets them with seductive pleasures of the flesh. But when they have heard the voice of Christ, growing spiritual wings, they wisely fly away and entrust themselves to Christ. The nests built by partridges are skilfully fortified. For they cover their hiding-place with thorny bushes so that animals attacking them are kept at bay by the prickly branches. The partridge uses dust to cover its eggs and returns secretly to the place, which it has marked. Frequent intercourse tires it. The females often carry their young in order to deceive the males, who frequently attack the chicks, all the more impatiently when the chicks fawn on them. The males fight over their choice of mate, and believe they can use the losers for sex in place of the females. The latter are so affected by lust, that if the wind blows towards them from the males, they become pregnant

Text

The partridge. These birds steal other birds' eggs.

Illustration

A partridge steals eggs from another's nest.

Comment

One picture of a partridge has been excised.The grey partridge lives in England, the rock, red-legged or Barbary partridge lives around the Mediterranean. The portrait is not very accurate of either type, but the text contains some truth. The rubric is missing. Pricking for pouncing around the lower picture. Initials type 2.

Folio Attributes

  • Pouncing

    Pouncing

    Pouncing
    Pouncing. Detail of Hyena from f.11v

    Pouncing is a method of copying images from one sheet of vellum to another by making a series of tiny prick marks around the required image. The image would be pricked straight through to a sheet below. This would become the template from which several copies could be made without further harm to the original. The pricked sheet would be sprinkled with a very fine dust like charcoal or pumice, which would trickle through the holes producing the required image below. It was a convenient way to duplicate images in a scriptorium where many similar copies of a book were required. Although the Ashmolean Bestiary has very similar images to the Aberdeen Bestiary, in general their different proportions show that they were not a direct copy. The evidence of pouncing in the Aberdeen Bestiary suggests that there was yet another member of this family of manuscripts, directly dependent on the Aberdeen design. Images marked in this way are on f.2r fishes, f.3r the creation of Eve (more visible on f.3v), f.11v hyena, f.12v ape, f.18r dog, f.24r mole, f.36v hoopoe, f.37r magpies, f.51v bat, f.54r partridge, f.56r phoenix, f.59r ducks, f.59v peacock, f.63r bees, f.66v vipers, f.68v anphivena, f.69v seps. In most cases it is impossible to tell when the pouncing took place but the Aberdeen Bestiary has evidence that some pictures were done while the book was being made and some were done after completion (Clark 1992,107). The Creation of Eve (f.3r) and the phoenix (f.56r) are both punched and blank on the verso. The two pages after the phoenix are blank and glued together, thus preventing the pricks on f.56r from damaging the new f.56v. The same can be observed at f.3r which is followed by two blanks and the next image on f.4v. Clearly these were intended to be stuck together to minimise the effect of pricking around Eve, and to support the heavy layers of paint and gold of the Christ in Majesty. Decisions to leave these blank pages must have been made while the drawings were being produced. Elsewhere the pouncing damages the other side of the folio, often including an illumination. These incursions must have been made after the book was complete.

Transcription

[De perdice] \ Perdix de voce nomen\ habet, avis dolosa et\ immunda. Nam masculus\ in masculum insurgit, et\ obliviscitur sexum libido\ preceps. Adeo autem frau\ dulenta, ut alter alterius\ ova diripiat. Verumptamen\ fraus fructum non habet. Nam dum pulli audiunt vocem\ proprie genitricis naturali quodam instinctu hanc que\ eos fovit relinqunt, et ad eam que eos genuit rever\ tuntur. Huius exemplum imitatus est diabolus qui ge\ nerationem eterni conditoris rapere contendit, et si quos\ insipientes et sensu proprii vigoris carentes aliquo modo\ poterit congregare, fovet illos illecebris corporalibus.\ Set ubi vox Christi audita fuerit ab eis, sumentes sibi alas\ spirituales provide evolant, et se Christo commendant.\ Concinnantur\ a perdicibus munitione sollerti.\ Spineis enim fruticibus receptus\ suos vestiunt, ut animalia que\ infestant arceantur asperis surcu\ lorum. Ovis stragulum pulvis\ est atque clanculo revertuntur in indicium loci, conver\ satio frequens fatigat, plerumque femine transvehunt par\ tus ut mares fallant, qui eos sepissime affligunt, impaci\ entius adulantes. Dimicant circa conubium, victosque cre\ dunt feminarum vice venerem sustinere. Ipsas libido sic\ agitat, ut si ventus a masculis flaverit, fiant pregnantes\

Translation

Of the partridge The partridge gets its name from the sound it makes. It is a cunning and unclean bird. For one male mounts another and in their reckless lust they forget their sex. The partridge is so deceitful that one will steal another's eggs. But the trick does not work. For when the young hear the cry of their real mother, their natural instinct is to leave the bird that is brooding them and return to the mother who produced them. The Devil imitates their example, trying to rob the eternal Creator of those he has created; if he succeeds somehow in bringing together men who are foolish and lack any sense of their own inner strength, he cossets them with seductive pleasures of the flesh. But when they have heard the voice of Christ, growing spiritual wings, they wisely fly away and entrust themselves to Christ. The nests built by partridges are skilfully fortified. For they cover their hiding-place with thorny bushes so that animals attacking them are kept at bay by the prickly branches. The partridge uses dust to cover its eggs and returns secretly to the place, which it has marked. Frequent intercourse tires it. The females often carry their young in order to deceive the males, who frequently attack the chicks, all the more impatiently when the chicks fawn on them. The males fight over their choice of mate, and believe they can use the losers for sex in place of the females. The latter are so affected by lust, that if the wind blows towards them from the males, they become pregnant
  • Commentary

    Text

    The partridge. These birds steal other birds' eggs.

    Illustration

    A partridge steals eggs from another's nest.

    Comment

    One picture of a partridge has been excised.The grey partridge lives in England, the rock, red-legged or Barbary partridge lives around the Mediterranean. The portrait is not very accurate of either type, but the text contains some truth. The rubric is missing. Pricking for pouncing around the lower picture. Initials type 2.

    Folio Attributes

    • Pouncing

      Pouncing

      Pouncing
      Pouncing. Detail of Hyena from f.11v

      Pouncing is a method of copying images from one sheet of vellum to another by making a series of tiny prick marks around the required image. The image would be pricked straight through to a sheet below. This would become the template from which several copies could be made without further harm to the original. The pricked sheet would be sprinkled with a very fine dust like charcoal or pumice, which would trickle through the holes producing the required image below. It was a convenient way to duplicate images in a scriptorium where many similar copies of a book were required. Although the Ashmolean Bestiary has very similar images to the Aberdeen Bestiary, in general their different proportions show that they were not a direct copy. The evidence of pouncing in the Aberdeen Bestiary suggests that there was yet another member of this family of manuscripts, directly dependent on the Aberdeen design. Images marked in this way are on f.2r fishes, f.3r the creation of Eve (more visible on f.3v), f.11v hyena, f.12v ape, f.18r dog, f.24r mole, f.36v hoopoe, f.37r magpies, f.51v bat, f.54r partridge, f.56r phoenix, f.59r ducks, f.59v peacock, f.63r bees, f.66v vipers, f.68v anphivena, f.69v seps. In most cases it is impossible to tell when the pouncing took place but the Aberdeen Bestiary has evidence that some pictures were done while the book was being made and some were done after completion (Clark 1992,107). The Creation of Eve (f.3r) and the phoenix (f.56r) are both punched and blank on the verso. The two pages after the phoenix are blank and glued together, thus preventing the pricks on f.56r from damaging the new f.56v. The same can be observed at f.3r which is followed by two blanks and the next image on f.4v. Clearly these were intended to be stuck together to minimise the effect of pricking around Eve, and to support the heavy layers of paint and gold of the Christ in Majesty. Decisions to leave these blank pages must have been made while the drawings were being produced. Elsewhere the pouncing damages the other side of the folio, often including an illumination. These incursions must have been made after the book was complete.

  • Translation
    Of the partridge The partridge gets its name from the sound it makes. It is a cunning and unclean bird. For one male mounts another and in their reckless lust they forget their sex. The partridge is so deceitful that one will steal another's eggs. But the trick does not work. For when the young hear the cry of their real mother, their natural instinct is to leave the bird that is brooding them and return to the mother who produced them. The Devil imitates their example, trying to rob the eternal Creator of those he has created; if he succeeds somehow in bringing together men who are foolish and lack any sense of their own inner strength, he cossets them with seductive pleasures of the flesh. But when they have heard the voice of Christ, growing spiritual wings, they wisely fly away and entrust themselves to Christ. The nests built by partridges are skilfully fortified. For they cover their hiding-place with thorny bushes so that animals attacking them are kept at bay by the prickly branches. The partridge uses dust to cover its eggs and returns secretly to the place, which it has marked. Frequent intercourse tires it. The females often carry their young in order to deceive the males, who frequently attack the chicks, all the more impatiently when the chicks fawn on them. The males fight over their choice of mate, and believe they can use the losers for sex in place of the females. The latter are so affected by lust, that if the wind blows towards them from the males, they become pregnant
  • Transcription
    [De perdice] \ Perdix de voce nomen\ habet, avis dolosa et\ immunda. Nam masculus\ in masculum insurgit, et\ obliviscitur sexum libido\ preceps. Adeo autem frau\ dulenta, ut alter alterius\ ova diripiat. Verumptamen\ fraus fructum non habet. Nam dum pulli audiunt vocem\ proprie genitricis naturali quodam instinctu hanc que\ eos fovit relinqunt, et ad eam que eos genuit rever\ tuntur. Huius exemplum imitatus est diabolus qui ge\ nerationem eterni conditoris rapere contendit, et si quos\ insipientes et sensu proprii vigoris carentes aliquo modo\ poterit congregare, fovet illos illecebris corporalibus.\ Set ubi vox Christi audita fuerit ab eis, sumentes sibi alas\ spirituales provide evolant, et se Christo commendant.\ Concinnantur\ a perdicibus munitione sollerti.\ Spineis enim fruticibus receptus\ suos vestiunt, ut animalia que\ infestant arceantur asperis surcu\ lorum. Ovis stragulum pulvis\ est atque clanculo revertuntur in indicium loci, conver\ satio frequens fatigat, plerumque femine transvehunt par\ tus ut mares fallant, qui eos sepissime affligunt, impaci\ entius adulantes. Dimicant circa conubium, victosque cre\ dunt feminarum vice venerem sustinere. Ipsas libido sic\ agitat, ut si ventus a masculis flaverit, fiant pregnantes\
Folio 54r - [De perdice]; Of the partridge | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen