The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 59v - the duck, continued. De pavone; Of the peacock


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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.
were detected when they ascended the Capitol. Each species of bird is born twice; for first the eggs are produced, then they are given form and life by the warmth of the mother's body. They are called eggs, ova, because inside they are full of fluid. Anything that has fluid on the outside is umidum, 'wet'; anything with fluid on the inside is called vividum, 'life containing'. Some people think that the word ovum is of Greek origin. For the Greeks call eggs oa, losing the v. Some eggs are conceived by useless wind; nothing can be hatched from them, however, unless they have been conceived through intercourse with a male bird and penetrated by the spirit carried in his seed. Such is the quality of eggs, they say, that wood soaked in them will not burn, nor clothing, in turn, catch fire. In addition, eggs mixed with chalk, it is said, will glue pieces of glass together. Of the peacock The peacock gets its name, pavo, from the sound of its cry. Its flesh is so hard that it hardly decays and it cannot easily be cooked. A certain poet said of it: 'You are lost in admiration, whenever it spreads its jewelled wings; can you consign it, hard-hearted woman, to the unfeeling cook?' (Martial, Epigrams, xiii, 70) 'Solomon's fleet went to Tharsis once every three years and brought from there gold and silver, elephants' teeth and apes, and peacocks' (see 2 Chronicles, 10: 21). Tharsis we take to mean the search for joy. There is the joy of this world and the joy of the world to come. The joy of this life is limited. But the joy of the life to come is wholly unlimited. Pain and sadness each follow the joy of this life. But neither pain nor sadness follows the life to come. Joy in this world consists of being elevated by honours, enjoying to the full and for the moment things which are transitory, enjoying a wide circle of relations

Text

The peacock.

Illustration

A fine portrait including the peacock's tail.

Comment

The text says the bird is very hard to cook. In fact the peacock was a great aristocratic delicacy but perhaps it was not often eaten by the clergy involved with producing the text. The illustration is pricked all around for pouncing. Prick marks from the duck illustration on f.59r are visible. Initial indicator 'p' on left margin, in red. The frame overlaps the initial, type 2.

Folio Attributes

  • Pricking

    Pricking

    Pricking
    Line pricking and ruling. Detail from f.7r

    Once the quires were arranged they had to be prepared for writing by drawing up the lines. Tiny parallel pinpricks were made on the outer and inner edges of each page and horizontal lines ruled between them. In a completed book these pinpricks should have been trimmed off during the final stages of production but in the Aberdeen Bestiary they have survived in 12 out of the 15 quires (only E , G and M are fully trimmed). Careful measuring shows that the holes were pricked with the quires folded up, using a long pointed pricker, because they are the same distance apart throughout an entire quire. In quires B and C there is a double hole on the penultimate line, indicating to the person ruling lines that the page is about to end. In these two quires the holes have a coarse triangular shape and are set up to 6mm in from the edge. Elsewhere the holes are smaller, circular and much closer to the edge. Pinpricks were also made at the top and bottom of the pages to provide vertical margins. These survive in every quire. In quires A.F,H,J,K,L,M and N there are single pricks for the vertical lines. In B and C there are double pricks and double margins while in G there are double pricks and a variety of single and double ruled lines. On f.48r (quire G) where there are double pricks for the margins, the wrong holes have been joined and the faulty diagonal line has been redrawn correctly.

  • Overlaps

    Overlaps

    Overlaps
    Painting covers script. Detail from f.12r

    It is clear that the illustrations were added after the text was complete. This can be seen for instance on f.12r, the Bonnacon, where the axe passes outside the frame and covers some text. In this case the initial was done before the illustration because the capital 'I' is overlapped by the spear. In some cases, the picture is placed over the initial (f.50r, f.59v, f.67v). In other instances the initial overlaps the picture frame (f.8v, f.31v, f.63r, f.68v). This suggests that both the initials and the illustrations were made by the same artist who chose, on each occasion, whether to begin with the image or the letter.

Transcription

ascensus in capitolio deprehensus est . Omnium autem genera\ volucrum bis nascuntur, primum enim ova gignuntur, inde ca\ lore materni corporis formantur et animantur. Ova autem dicta\ ab eo quod intrinsecus humore sint plena. Nam humidum\ est quod exterius humorem habet, vividum quod interius, quidam\ autem putant ovum Grecam habere originem nominis. Illi enim\ dicunt oa v littera ablata. Ova autem quedam inani vento\ concipiuntur, sed tamen non sunt generabilia nisi que fuerint concubi\ tu masculino concepta, et seminali spiritu penetrata. Ovorum\ vim tantam dicunt ut lignum perfusum eo non ardeat ac ne\ vestis quidem contra aduratur. Admixta quoque calce glutina\ re fertur vitri fragmenta. \ De pavone \ Pavo\ nomen\ de sono vo\ cis habet, cuius\ caro tam\ dura est ut\ petredinem [putredinem]\ vix sentiat\ nec facile coquatur, de quo quidam sic ait: Miraris quociens\ gemmantes explicat alas, si potes hunc sevo tradere dura coco.\ Classis Salomonis per mare semel per tres annos ibat in Tharsis, de\ ferens inde aurum et argentum, dentes elephantorum et simias\ et pavos. Tharsis interpretatur exploratio gaudii. Est autem\ gaudium presentis seculi et futuri. Gaudium presentis vite, fine\ clauditur. Gaudium vero future, nequaquam fine terminatur. Gaudium\ presentis vite, dolor et tristicia sequitur. Gaudium vero future, non\ dolor nec tristicia subsequetur. Gaudium presentis seculi est honoribus\ sublimari, rebus transitoriis ad tempus perfrui, abundare paren

Translation

were detected when they ascended the Capitol. Each species of bird is born twice; for first the eggs are produced, then they are given form and life by the warmth of the mother's body. They are called eggs, ova, because inside they are full of fluid. Anything that has fluid on the outside is umidum, 'wet'; anything with fluid on the inside is called vividum, 'life containing'. Some people think that the word ovum is of Greek origin. For the Greeks call eggs oa, losing the v. Some eggs are conceived by useless wind; nothing can be hatched from them, however, unless they have been conceived through intercourse with a male bird and penetrated by the spirit carried in his seed. Such is the quality of eggs, they say, that wood soaked in them will not burn, nor clothing, in turn, catch fire. In addition, eggs mixed with chalk, it is said, will glue pieces of glass together. Of the peacock The peacock gets its name, pavo, from the sound of its cry. Its flesh is so hard that it hardly decays and it cannot easily be cooked. A certain poet said of it: 'You are lost in admiration, whenever it spreads its jewelled wings; can you consign it, hard-hearted woman, to the unfeeling cook?' (Martial, Epigrams, xiii, 70) 'Solomon's fleet went to Tharsis once every three years and brought from there gold and silver, elephants' teeth and apes, and peacocks' (see 2 Chronicles, 10: 21). Tharsis we take to mean the search for joy. There is the joy of this world and the joy of the world to come. The joy of this life is limited. But the joy of the life to come is wholly unlimited. Pain and sadness each follow the joy of this life. But neither pain nor sadness follows the life to come. Joy in this world consists of being elevated by honours, enjoying to the full and for the moment things which are transitory, enjoying a wide circle of relations
  • Commentary

    Text

    The peacock.

    Illustration

    A fine portrait including the peacock's tail.

    Comment

    The text says the bird is very hard to cook. In fact the peacock was a great aristocratic delicacy but perhaps it was not often eaten by the clergy involved with producing the text. The illustration is pricked all around for pouncing. Prick marks from the duck illustration on f.59r are visible. Initial indicator 'p' on left margin, in red. The frame overlaps the initial, type 2.

    Folio Attributes

    • Pricking

      Pricking

      Pricking
      Line pricking and ruling. Detail from f.7r

      Once the quires were arranged they had to be prepared for writing by drawing up the lines. Tiny parallel pinpricks were made on the outer and inner edges of each page and horizontal lines ruled between them. In a completed book these pinpricks should have been trimmed off during the final stages of production but in the Aberdeen Bestiary they have survived in 12 out of the 15 quires (only E , G and M are fully trimmed). Careful measuring shows that the holes were pricked with the quires folded up, using a long pointed pricker, because they are the same distance apart throughout an entire quire. In quires B and C there is a double hole on the penultimate line, indicating to the person ruling lines that the page is about to end. In these two quires the holes have a coarse triangular shape and are set up to 6mm in from the edge. Elsewhere the holes are smaller, circular and much closer to the edge. Pinpricks were also made at the top and bottom of the pages to provide vertical margins. These survive in every quire. In quires A.F,H,J,K,L,M and N there are single pricks for the vertical lines. In B and C there are double pricks and double margins while in G there are double pricks and a variety of single and double ruled lines. On f.48r (quire G) where there are double pricks for the margins, the wrong holes have been joined and the faulty diagonal line has been redrawn correctly.

    • Overlaps

      Overlaps

      Overlaps
      Painting covers script. Detail from f.12r

      It is clear that the illustrations were added after the text was complete. This can be seen for instance on f.12r, the Bonnacon, where the axe passes outside the frame and covers some text. In this case the initial was done before the illustration because the capital 'I' is overlapped by the spear. In some cases, the picture is placed over the initial (f.50r, f.59v, f.67v). In other instances the initial overlaps the picture frame (f.8v, f.31v, f.63r, f.68v). This suggests that both the initials and the illustrations were made by the same artist who chose, on each occasion, whether to begin with the image or the letter.

  • Translation
    were detected when they ascended the Capitol. Each species of bird is born twice; for first the eggs are produced, then they are given form and life by the warmth of the mother's body. They are called eggs, ova, because inside they are full of fluid. Anything that has fluid on the outside is umidum, 'wet'; anything with fluid on the inside is called vividum, 'life containing'. Some people think that the word ovum is of Greek origin. For the Greeks call eggs oa, losing the v. Some eggs are conceived by useless wind; nothing can be hatched from them, however, unless they have been conceived through intercourse with a male bird and penetrated by the spirit carried in his seed. Such is the quality of eggs, they say, that wood soaked in them will not burn, nor clothing, in turn, catch fire. In addition, eggs mixed with chalk, it is said, will glue pieces of glass together. Of the peacock The peacock gets its name, pavo, from the sound of its cry. Its flesh is so hard that it hardly decays and it cannot easily be cooked. A certain poet said of it: 'You are lost in admiration, whenever it spreads its jewelled wings; can you consign it, hard-hearted woman, to the unfeeling cook?' (Martial, Epigrams, xiii, 70) 'Solomon's fleet went to Tharsis once every three years and brought from there gold and silver, elephants' teeth and apes, and peacocks' (see 2 Chronicles, 10: 21). Tharsis we take to mean the search for joy. There is the joy of this world and the joy of the world to come. The joy of this life is limited. But the joy of the life to come is wholly unlimited. Pain and sadness each follow the joy of this life. But neither pain nor sadness follows the life to come. Joy in this world consists of being elevated by honours, enjoying to the full and for the moment things which are transitory, enjoying a wide circle of relations
  • Transcription
    ascensus in capitolio deprehensus est . Omnium autem genera\ volucrum bis nascuntur, primum enim ova gignuntur, inde ca\ lore materni corporis formantur et animantur. Ova autem dicta\ ab eo quod intrinsecus humore sint plena. Nam humidum\ est quod exterius humorem habet, vividum quod interius, quidam\ autem putant ovum Grecam habere originem nominis. Illi enim\ dicunt oa v littera ablata. Ova autem quedam inani vento\ concipiuntur, sed tamen non sunt generabilia nisi que fuerint concubi\ tu masculino concepta, et seminali spiritu penetrata. Ovorum\ vim tantam dicunt ut lignum perfusum eo non ardeat ac ne\ vestis quidem contra aduratur. Admixta quoque calce glutina\ re fertur vitri fragmenta. \ De pavone \ Pavo\ nomen\ de sono vo\ cis habet, cuius\ caro tam\ dura est ut\ petredinem [putredinem]\ vix sentiat\ nec facile coquatur, de quo quidam sic ait: Miraris quociens\ gemmantes explicat alas, si potes hunc sevo tradere dura coco.\ Classis Salomonis per mare semel per tres annos ibat in Tharsis, de\ ferens inde aurum et argentum, dentes elephantorum et simias\ et pavos. Tharsis interpretatur exploratio gaudii. Est autem\ gaudium presentis seculi et futuri. Gaudium presentis vite, fine\ clauditur. Gaudium vero future, nequaquam fine terminatur. Gaudium\ presentis vite, dolor et tristicia sequitur. Gaudium vero future, non\ dolor nec tristicia subsequetur. Gaudium presentis seculi est honoribus\ sublimari, rebus transitoriis ad tempus perfrui, abundare paren
Folio 59v - the duck, continued. De pavone; Of the peacock | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen