Here begins the book of the nature of beasts.
The start of quire B is indicated by the letter 'b' in the centre of the lower margin. Pricking and ruling are visible. On the right edge the letters 'b, c, p', written in black are initial indicators. The first initial is type 3 and the other three are type 2.
- Transcription and Translation
TranscriptionIncipit liber de naturis bestiarum. De leonibus et pardis et tigribus, lupis et\ vulpibus, canibus et simiis.\ Leo fortissimus bestiarum, ad nullius pavebit occursum.\ Bestiarum vocabulum proprie convenit leonibus par\dis, et tigribus, lupis, et vulpibus, canibus et simiis, ac ce\teris que ore vel unguibus seviunt, exceptis serpentibus.\ Bestie autem dicite, a vi qua seviunt. Fere appellate eo quod na\turali utuntur libertate, et desiderio suo ferantur. Sunt\ enim libere eorum voluntates, et huc atque illuc vagan\tur, et quo animus duxerit, eo ferantur. Leonis vocabulum\ ex greca origine inflexum est in latinum. Grece enim leon vo\catur, et est nomen nothum, quia ex parte corruptum. Leo\ enim grece, latine rex interpretatur, eo quod princeps est omnium\ bestiarum.\ De generibus luporum [lionum]\ Cuius genus tripharium dicitur,\ e quibus breves et iuba crispa inbelles sunt, longi et co\ma simplici, acres. Animos eorum frons et cauda indicat,\ virtus eorum in pectore, firmitas autem in capite. Rotarum\ timent strepitus, sed ignes magis. Leo nature sue vi superbus, fe\rocitatem sui aliarum ferarum generibus miscere nes\cit, sed quasi rex quidam plurimorum dedignatur consortium.\ De tribus principalibus naturis leonis.\ Phisici dicunt leonem\ tres principales naturas habere. Prima natura eius est, quod per\ cacumina montium amat ire. Et si contigerit ut queratur\ a venatoribus, venit ad eum odor venatorum, et cum cau\da sua tetigit posttergum vestigia sua. Tunc venato\res investigare eum nequeunt. Sic et salvator noster, scilicet\ spiritualis leo, de tribu Iuda, radix Iesse, filius David, cooperuit\ vestigia sue caritatis in celis, donec missus a patre descenderet\ in uterum virginis Marie, et salvaret genus humanum quod perierat.\
TranslationHere begins the book of the nature of beasts. Of lions, panthers and tigers, wolves and foxes, dogs and apes. The lion is the mightiest of the beasts; he will quail at the approach of none. The name 'beast' applies, strictly speaking, to lions, panthers and tigers, wolves and foxes, dogs and apes, and to all other animals which vent their rage with tooth or claw - except snakes. They are called 'beasts' from the force with which they rage. They are called 'wild' because they enjoy their natural liberty and are borne along by their desires. They are free of will, and wander here and there, and where their instinct takes them, there they are borne. The name lion, leo, of Greek origin, is altered in Latin. For in Greek it is leon; it is not a genuine word, because it is in part corrupted. For the Greek word for lion is translated 'king' in Latin, because the lion is the king of all the beasts. There are said to be three kinds. Of these, the ones which are short in stature, with curly manes, are peaceable; the tall ones, with straight hair, are fierce. Their brow and tail show their mettle; their courage is in their breast, their resolution in their head. They fear the rumbling sound of wheels, but are even more frightened by fire. The lion takes pride in the strength of its nature; it does not know how to join in the ferocity of other kinds of wild beasts, but like a king disdains the company of large numbers. Of the three main characteristics of the lion. Those who study nature say that the lion has three main characteristics. The first is that it loves to roam amid mountain peaks. If it happens that the lion is pursued by hunters, it picks up their scent and obliterates the traces behind it with its tail. As a result, they cannot track it. Thus our Saviour, a spiritual lion, of the tribe of Judah, the root of Jesse, the son of David, concealed the traces of his love in heaven until, sent by his father, he descended into the womb of the Virgin Mary and redeemed mankind, which was lost.