Manuscript: Arundel MS 292
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British Library, Arundel MS 292
(Middle English Bestiary)
 

Produced: England, 13th century

Language: Old / Middle English

Author: 
Illustrator: 
Scribe: 

Binding: 
Media: Vellum
Script: 

Folios: 112  Height:   cm   Width:   cm

Manuscript type: Bestiary

Location: British Library, London, England, United Kingdom

Family: n/a

 




 
Description

"2. A Bestiarium, or natural history of certain animals, with the moral significations appended; translated into Middle English verse, chiefly from the Latin of Hildebertus Cenomanensis. fol. 4. Beginning: 'De leun stant on hille / And he man hunten here.' End: 'In hole of ston ge make hire nest, / In Cristes milce irre hope is best.' " - British Library

"Composed in East Midlands, first half thirteenth century, from the metrical Latin Physiologus by Theobaldus (eleventh-century Italian monk)." - Beasts and Birds of the Middle Ages: The Bestiary and its Legacy (Philadelphia, 1989) Clark p. 202

"The Bestiary is founded on the Latin Physiologus of one Thetbaldus, though earlier specimens had appeared in Old English and Anglo-French. Of the thirteen animals dealt with, twelve are taken from the work of Thetbaldus, the section relating to the dove from Neckams De Naturis Rerum (1, 56). The method of teaching is venerable but effective; the habits of animals are made to symbolise spiritual truth. The work does not, however, represent much originality, though the metrical form is a blending of old and new. Its six-syllable couplet is derived either from the Latin hexameters of the original or from Philipe de Thauns couplet, with which it is identical. But the treatment is far from regular; alliteration, rime and assonance are promiscuously used, and syllabic equivalence is but imperfectly apprehended. Occasionally delightful movements are obtained... But the whole seems to point to artistic inconsistencies rather than whimsical handling, though the work is interesting as showing English verse in the process of making." - The Cambridge History of English and American Literature (New York, 190721) Ward XI, 7

Also contains the Latin animal fables of Odo, a sermon in Latin and French (f 38r-), "A Chorister's Lament" (f. 70v-71r) and others.


 
Editions and Facsimiles

Printed editions: An Old English miscellany containing a bestiary, Kentish sermons, Proverbs of Alfred, religious poems of the thirteenth century, from manuscripts in the British Museum, Bodleian Library, Jesus College Library, etc. (London, 1872) Morris, 1872 / Selections from Early Middle English (Oxford, 1920) Hall, 1920


 

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