The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 99r - beryl, continued. Nonum topazius; The ninth, topaz


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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.
it expects its reward. In this context, the psalm: 'Thou shall eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee' (Psalms, 128:2). Gregory: 'It will be bad for those who eat their labours here, like hypocrites.' Verse Its hexagonal form causes beryl to shine brightly; otherwise it seems to have a faint pallor. The ninth, topaz The ninth foundation is topaz; this stone, although it is multi-coloured, has two colours especially, gold and a clear colour, as the Glossator of Exodus, 34, says: And it is touched by the splendour of the sun. It exceeds all other gemstones in clearness; its appearance is singularly pleasing to those who look at it; if it were polished, it would be dulled; left to its own nature, it is clearer; it is the largest of stones; and it is cherished by kings. Topaz signifies contemplation. The love with which contemplation burns, colours it gold; the understanding which illuminates contemplation, gives it its clear colour. In contemplation the Lord is seen more clearly; and men are more especially drawn to his love when they are open to it. Their nature is such that, if they are embellished by the honours of this world, they see less clearly, because, like Martha, they have many distractions. This stone shines with every colour, because contemplation shines with the splendour of every virtue. It is the biggest of stones, because contemplation expands the heart greatly, and those who are truly kings think nothing of the flesh. It is placed in the ninth position, because contemplation aligns contemplative men with the nine orders of angels. Verse Topaz comes from the island of the same name. It is all the more precious as it is rare. The land of the Arabs, rich in stones, produces it.

Text

Topaz.

Comment

Initial type 4.

Folio Attributes

  • Initial Type 4

    Initial Type 4

    Initial Type 4
    Type 4 initial. Detail from f.96v

    Type 4 initials are red or blue. On any given page they alternate red and blue regularly. Blue initials are embellished with red tassels and vice versa. The colouring and form of the letters is not very even and appears rather hurried in places. In the Bestiary proper, they appear on f.79v and f.80r. Thereafter this is the basic initial used in the thirteenth-century Lapidary addition, found from f.94r onwards. This suggests that gaps left in the twelfth-century text on ff. 79v and 80r were filled in when the book was completed in the later thirteenth century. The poor quality of the later work is apparent from f.94r onwards, and is apparent on f.79v where the wrong capital ‘U’ was inserted and later corrected to ‘F’ for Fagus, the beech tree.

Transcription

te, mercedem expectat. Unde Psalmis: Labores manuum\ tuarum quia manducabis, in futuro, scilicet, beatus es et bene\ tibi erit, Gregorius: Illis erit male qui hic manducant la\bores, scilicet sicut ypocrite. \ Versus \ Conspicuos reddit sex\angula forma berillos. Qui nisi fiat hebes hiis pal\lorum esse videtur. \ Nonum topazius \ Nonum topacius, hic lapis quamvis omnium sit\ colorum, maxime tamen duos habet colores, aureum et\ ethereum ut dicit Glossator super Exodus xxxiiii, et cum splendo\re solis tangitur, omnium gemmarum claritates excedit, in\ aspectum suum provocat singulariter aspicientes, qui\ si poliatur obscuratur, si nature sue relinquatur, clari\or est, et est gemmarum amplissima , et regibus cara, et\ significat contemplacionem, que ex caritate qua fervet, et\ est aurea, et ex cognicione qua lucet, ethera, ubi dominus\ limpidius videtur, ad cuius amorem homines aperti\ singularius trahuntur, et qui tales sunt, si honoribus\ seculi poliantur, obscurantur, quia turbantur circa plurima sicut\ Martha, quod hic lapis omni colore resplendet, hic est quia\ contemplacio omnium virtutum splendore refulget,\ et est gemmarum latissima, quia contemplacio maxime\ cor dilatat et qui vere reges sunt, nichil carnis con\templacione habent, et unde nono loco ponitur quia homines\ contemplativos novem ordinibus angelorum contem\placio associat. \ Versus \ Nominis eiusdem topazion\ insula gignit. Qui quanto rarus tanto magis est\ preciosus. Gignit et hunc Arabum gemmis ditissima\ tellus.

Translation

it expects its reward. In this context, the psalm: 'Thou shall eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee' (Psalms, 128:2). Gregory: 'It will be bad for those who eat their labours here, like hypocrites.' Verse Its hexagonal form causes beryl to shine brightly; otherwise it seems to have a faint pallor. The ninth, topaz The ninth foundation is topaz; this stone, although it is multi-coloured, has two colours especially, gold and a clear colour, as the Glossator of Exodus, 34, says: And it is touched by the splendour of the sun. It exceeds all other gemstones in clearness; its appearance is singularly pleasing to those who look at it; if it were polished, it would be dulled; left to its own nature, it is clearer; it is the largest of stones; and it is cherished by kings. Topaz signifies contemplation. The love with which contemplation burns, colours it gold; the understanding which illuminates contemplation, gives it its clear colour. In contemplation the Lord is seen more clearly; and men are more especially drawn to his love when they are open to it. Their nature is such that, if they are embellished by the honours of this world, they see less clearly, because, like Martha, they have many distractions. This stone shines with every colour, because contemplation shines with the splendour of every virtue. It is the biggest of stones, because contemplation expands the heart greatly, and those who are truly kings think nothing of the flesh. It is placed in the ninth position, because contemplation aligns contemplative men with the nine orders of angels. Verse Topaz comes from the island of the same name. It is all the more precious as it is rare. The land of the Arabs, rich in stones, produces it.
  • Commentary

    Text

    Topaz.

    Comment

    Initial type 4.

    Folio Attributes

    • Initial Type 4

      Initial Type 4

      Initial Type 4
      Type 4 initial. Detail from f.96v

      Type 4 initials are red or blue. On any given page they alternate red and blue regularly. Blue initials are embellished with red tassels and vice versa. The colouring and form of the letters is not very even and appears rather hurried in places. In the Bestiary proper, they appear on f.79v and f.80r. Thereafter this is the basic initial used in the thirteenth-century Lapidary addition, found from f.94r onwards. This suggests that gaps left in the twelfth-century text on ff. 79v and 80r were filled in when the book was completed in the later thirteenth century. The poor quality of the later work is apparent from f.94r onwards, and is apparent on f.79v where the wrong capital ‘U’ was inserted and later corrected to ‘F’ for Fagus, the beech tree.

  • Translation
    it expects its reward. In this context, the psalm: 'Thou shall eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee' (Psalms, 128:2). Gregory: 'It will be bad for those who eat their labours here, like hypocrites.' Verse Its hexagonal form causes beryl to shine brightly; otherwise it seems to have a faint pallor. The ninth, topaz The ninth foundation is topaz; this stone, although it is multi-coloured, has two colours especially, gold and a clear colour, as the Glossator of Exodus, 34, says: And it is touched by the splendour of the sun. It exceeds all other gemstones in clearness; its appearance is singularly pleasing to those who look at it; if it were polished, it would be dulled; left to its own nature, it is clearer; it is the largest of stones; and it is cherished by kings. Topaz signifies contemplation. The love with which contemplation burns, colours it gold; the understanding which illuminates contemplation, gives it its clear colour. In contemplation the Lord is seen more clearly; and men are more especially drawn to his love when they are open to it. Their nature is such that, if they are embellished by the honours of this world, they see less clearly, because, like Martha, they have many distractions. This stone shines with every colour, because contemplation shines with the splendour of every virtue. It is the biggest of stones, because contemplation expands the heart greatly, and those who are truly kings think nothing of the flesh. It is placed in the ninth position, because contemplation aligns contemplative men with the nine orders of angels. Verse Topaz comes from the island of the same name. It is all the more precious as it is rare. The land of the Arabs, rich in stones, produces it.
  • Transcription
    te, mercedem expectat. Unde Psalmis: Labores manuum\ tuarum quia manducabis, in futuro, scilicet, beatus es et bene\ tibi erit, Gregorius: Illis erit male qui hic manducant la\bores, scilicet sicut ypocrite. \ Versus \ Conspicuos reddit sex\angula forma berillos. Qui nisi fiat hebes hiis pal\lorum esse videtur. \ Nonum topazius \ Nonum topacius, hic lapis quamvis omnium sit\ colorum, maxime tamen duos habet colores, aureum et\ ethereum ut dicit Glossator super Exodus xxxiiii, et cum splendo\re solis tangitur, omnium gemmarum claritates excedit, in\ aspectum suum provocat singulariter aspicientes, qui\ si poliatur obscuratur, si nature sue relinquatur, clari\or est, et est gemmarum amplissima , et regibus cara, et\ significat contemplacionem, que ex caritate qua fervet, et\ est aurea, et ex cognicione qua lucet, ethera, ubi dominus\ limpidius videtur, ad cuius amorem homines aperti\ singularius trahuntur, et qui tales sunt, si honoribus\ seculi poliantur, obscurantur, quia turbantur circa plurima sicut\ Martha, quod hic lapis omni colore resplendet, hic est quia\ contemplacio omnium virtutum splendore refulget,\ et est gemmarum latissima, quia contemplacio maxime\ cor dilatat et qui vere reges sunt, nichil carnis con\templacione habent, et unde nono loco ponitur quia homines\ contemplativos novem ordinibus angelorum contem\placio associat. \ Versus \ Nominis eiusdem topazion\ insula gignit. Qui quanto rarus tanto magis est\ preciosus. Gignit et hunc Arabum gemmis ditissima\ tellus.
Folio 99r - beryl, continued. Nonum topazius; The ninth, topaz | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen